Talk today a little about why I’ve been playing with mobile ‘phone in my information skills sessions this year, some of the technologies used (plus demos) and what we’ll be doing over the next year or so to integrate mobile ‘phones into the library “experience” including Info Skills…
I try to use active learning techniques in my sessions. I think its good (expand). I’ve recently had a lot Computing and Engineering students that I’ve never had before and they are used to very traditional lectures backed up by individual work in practical workshops. They often come in large groups in classrooms and lecture theatres where we can’t do hands on workshops – even though we may be covering practical skills. So I’ve tried to get them actively learning and contributing to the session, but the whole idea of doing anything but sitting passively is completely alien to them. Even fairly easy things like writing on a card and passing it forward was too much for them – and with one off sessions there isn’t enough time to try and slowly break them down.
At the same time I’d be getting annoyed at the amount of studies using really high – tech equipment (details?) and rather neglecting the basic functionality of ‘phones.
So, thought I’d try and use basic functionality of mobiles myself with these unresponsive but highly technologically competent students.
Also – try and get my head around what was possible; what was useful(!) and how we could use these technologies in the library over the next couple of years.
Most adults have a mobile ‘phone. Willing to think it’ll be even more so in the student population. With all inclusive packages texts can effectively be free – most people don’t exceed the all inclusive package (reference). In HE in particular I also notice students sat in lectures using their ‘phones – so most of them have ‘em, they don’t cost much to use and the buggers are using them anyway. So, why not take advantage of them? But – SMS & Voice – not mobile internet or MMS…
This is provided by ….. Users can send a text to a short number (81025) then include a “tag” as the first part of their text for it to be directed into the right user / service. Costs about £25 per month for a code (can be less for sub-codes), plus 4.1p to send and 1.5p for us to receive texts. Users can get an automatic response “thank you for…” and are answered via the web portal. Message can be arranged in advance and sent out at set times. This is the service I’m using to send out texts in this session – has everyone had one? I’ll send out another now, so you can see how easy it is…
I’ve also used this to set up a “Text a librarian” service to work alongside other methods of asking the librarians questions in general…
Our email / ‘phone / voicemail system at work can also send out and receive texts – but goes through only one mobile access point so can’t cope well with multiple messages coming back and forth.
Tried using this mainly for feedback so far, others in the university have experimented more with a similar system (Janet-text which I think is the other main competitor. One group in our business school gets regular texts as part of their teaching – reminders of assignments, group activities to carry out in a workshop (so you don’t know what the others are doing!), quick questions to check they are awake, etc. Key problem that I’ll come on to later – getting permission! All have to opt in…
Show moblog group and how the texts appear. Used this for discussion of points in a session as a fairly anonymous way of answering questions to the class / feeding back after discussion. Worked really badly, people reluctant to contribute (the same as if I’d have asked the question any other way though!). Worked better asking a question (with bribe) that was open to the whole class. Also worked (okay – ish) asking yes / no.
Big negative is getting people to sign up beforehand – tried this a couple of times for one off sessions and the most I got was around half the class. Could see it being really useful for distance learning or a series of sessions for discussion in between classes.
If I had someone with time to do a bit of programming / coding I’d ask them to turn this sort of idea into a “word or text wall” – so people didn’t need to sign up beforehand but could text in and have their responses appear as a cloud of words or comments on the screen. I know there are commercially available versions of this, but can’t afford ‘em!
Channels rather than groups – but otherwise very similar to moblog in functionality for this purpose. A mobile / microblogging / social networking service – works with any mobile but can do fancy things on a smartphone! Cheryl’s stuff with distance learning students
“Social messaging service” – most well known microblogging service. Can use in a session for discussion / feedback – instructor would need to “follow” each contributor. Can be really good for discussion at distance, but a little complicated to set up – need to set up an account then everyone “follow” each other – they’d then need access to the ‘net via smartphone or computer to view discussion. Very Easy to text updates – maximum tweet is only 140 characters (less than 160 for an SMS). Show www.twitter.com
The screenshot above was from a school maths lesson that used twitter for a treasure hunt / maths lesson!
“social broadcasting platform”. Allows you to ring a number and leave a voice message that is then available online for others to pick up. Meant to allow easy production of podcasts, but can just as easily be used for feedback after a session for those that are reluctant to leave written feedback or with a conference call facility, to allow discussion. One of our colleagues has used it for distance learners quite good in conference call mode … When I’ve tried it for feedback no-one left a message! Just changed – now have to pay for ‘phone recordings! (but free for VOIP). Left this in to emphasise fragility of web 2.0 tools.
This one contains text. Can contain text, URL links; send SMS, make ‘phone call; some can contain info like contact details to import into your ‘phone. Handout contains ‘em.
See our catalogue.
Just been given money to develop their use in the library. Try and subvert the physical library to include elements of the virtual / mobile library. Details.
Think this is Peter Godwin’s book…
Web 2.0 tools – much easier when you can get everyone to register as part of an initial session than in one-off sessions. Paid for tools – the one we’re trialling can link to our database that contains students records, so easy to populate with a classes ‘phone numbers, but concerns over whether we are misusing the information by using it – so need to get detailed permission in advance. In general – been in a lecture theatre where I had perfect signal strength, but another network didn’t, so lots of the students couldn’t get involved! Students have to want to get involved as it’s potentially costing them money… Lots of things can go wrong, especially with web 2.0 tools, so high risk.
Many web 2.0 tools are free and can be used with mobile ‘phones. Paid for makes it a little less riskier, but much more restricted in possibilities…
Biggest problem is getting people set up to start with – so can be dodgy for one-off sessions.
Web 2.0 tools came and go and change over time so can’t be completely relied on, but even with bought tools, the idea of library or teaching staff “intruding” onto our users mobiles is new enough that no-one really knows what is acceptable…
What we’re trying over the next year….
Used this experience, “dipping my toe in the water” to come up with something more serious for the coming year or two.
If they won't turn them off, we might as well use them. Using mobile 'phones in information skills sessions. Walsh
If they won’t turn them off,
we might as well use them.
Using mobile ‘phones in information skills sessions.
Andrew Walsh, University of Huddersfield
Why I’ve been trying mobiles
• Active Learning
• Large classes
• Unresponsive students
• Basic Functionality vs High end technology
A few facts and figures
Around 9 in 10 adults use a mobile phone
116.5 ‘phones per 100 people in the UK!
99% of mobile phone users make calls
95% of mobile phone users send texts
35% of mobile phone users use mobile internet
217 million texts a day (mobile data association)
A paid for service first…
Text HUDUNI LIB followed by your message to 81025
Now for some freebies…
Moblog – www.moblog.net
Jaiku – www.jaiku.com
Twitter – twitter.com
Gabcast – www.gabcast.com (just changed!)
Lots of others – plenty of web 2.0 tools can be
updated by mobile.
Moblog – www.moblog.net
Anyone that’s registered with moblog:
“would you be brave enough to use this in a
Please text IL09 plus YES or NO to 07786201241
(if you’ve signed up!)
Jaiku – www.jaiku.com
The LibraryThing channel : http://jaiku.com/channel/LibraryThing
Twitter – twitter.com
From a school maths lesson! http://olliebray.typepad.com/olliebraycom/2009/02/i-got-a--phone-call-from-a-teacher-in-the-