The Institute of Learning Innovation will be well-represented at ALT-C 2013 conference: Building new cultures for learning.
Brenda Padilla’s full paper was accepted, with the title ‘Student engagement with a content-based learning design.’ Brenda summarises her paper: ‘While learning is commonly conceptualised as a social, collaborative process, in corporate organisations, online courses often provide limited opportunities for communication between people. How do students engage with content-based courses? How do they find answers to their questions? How do they achieve the learning outcomes? This paper aims to answer these questions by focusing on students’ experiences in an online content-based course delivered in a large Mexican organisation.’
A short paper by Terese Bird was accepted with the title ‘China is harvesting your
iTunes U – and other findings from researching how overseas students engage
with open learning materials.’ This paper will share findings from the HEA-funded iTunesUReach project in which the use of open educational resources (OER) by overseas students was researched. This project was represented at OER13 with the poster below.
A short paper by Ming Nie was accepted with the title ‘iPads in distance learning:
learning design, digital literacy, transformation.’ This paper will share findings from the JISC-funded Places project which is evaluating the use of iPads in two University of Leicester distance learning Masters courses.
Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow, Institute of Learning Innovation, University of Leicester
Posted by tbirdcymru on May 9, 2013
I tried a little experiment as I walked back from the Beyond Distance Research Alliance to the Department of Engineering the other day. You could try it for yourself.
Walk around the university campus – or shopping centre – or another public place and count the number of people using mobile devices. Estimate the proportion of people using mobile devices – iPods, phones, whatever. Of the 48 people I counted, 20 were using mobile devices (most of them phones) – so about 40%.
Now try the same experiment at home. My wife, my son and I were sitting down supposedly watching television last night. However, my wife was playing scrabble on her iPod with my son on his iPhone (in between both text messaging.) I was emailing and generally browsing on my laptop. So that’s more than 100%. And of course we were interacting in the real world too (if you count Eastenders as the real world …)
Slightly changing the subject – I’ve just acquired an iPhone – having had more conventional PDAs for as long as I can remember – certainly 20 years. Of course it’s not a phone really. Indeed, I’m not really sure how to make phone calls on it but I’m sure it’s quite easy if ever the need arises. I use it for emails, social networking, running apps to tell me the tides in Teddington, entertaining my granddaughter …
I “attended” the Follow the Sun conference just before Easter. I say “attended” as I was attending another conference in Canterbury at the time. But I joined in and found myself talking to my laptop in a crowded junior common room – utilising the free WiFi there. Ten years ago, people would have stopped and stared. I don’t think anyone batted an eye lid – there’s nothing more usual than talking to your computer.
So can we really talk about the “virtual worlds” – about “online learning” – as if they’re something different to reality? This is the world in which we live. One which is densely interconnected. One in which the physical world that you observe is just one of several windows on the real world that you interact with.
So I hope we can stop talking about e-learning soon. It’s not that I don’t enjoy talking about it – and I like writing about it and being a part of BDRA. But I hope that we’ll just take it for granted that this is normal – why would we want to teach and learn in any other way?
Professor John Fothergill
Head of Engineering, University of Leicester
Posted by ILI Leicester on May 16, 2011
It always amuses me; whenever “they” bring out a “cool” device, everybody immediately has to have one. Ok, not everybody, but enough people I know do want a new iPad to cause me major puzzlement.
Now, don’t let’s start with the wrong impression, I love good, useful, effective technology. But I love if for what it does, not what it is. The thing with computers is, they are intrinsically useless. It’s the software that’s useful – the device just supports the software. So, for example, I only bought a new computer when I wanted to run Second Life. Yes, it was state-of-the-art and all that, but I just stuck it under the table and actually looked at the new software it supported.
Back to the iPad then. Is it a sea-change in computer use, or just a coalition of old features? What new functionality does it support? Thus far, I haven’t heard of anything at all, let alone something that I will want to use. So to me, it’s useless. Ok, I could buy one in order to see if it’s useful, but isn’t that a bit like buying a new music download without listening to it first on the off-chance I would like it? (only much more expensive!)
It must be this kind of “sensible scepticism” that slows the adoption of technologies that do have clear benefits. Take Podcasting for example. Beyond Distance has plenty of evidence for its efficacy, and many people are beginning to use it, but there’s no stampede of new Podcasting academics. Getting the message across is as important as having a good message.
For the iPad, either there’s no good message, or it has yet to reach me.
Time will tell . . .
Research Associate, SWIFT
Posted by ILI Leicester on May 14, 2010
Whilst on the train returning from ALT-C 2009, I read John Traxler’s excellent thought piece “Students and mobile devices: choosing which dream”. John describes the conundrum of using mobile devices such as mp3 players and mobile phones for learning: so many students have them that it seems obvious that we should include them as learning technology. However, not all students have them, and students don’t all have devices with the same capability, and students may not wish to use their own mobile devices as learning tools. To quote, “Student devices unlock the dreams of agency, control, ownership and choice amongst students but put the dreams of equity, access and participation at risk. Universities cannot afford, procure, provide nor control these devices but they cannot ignore them either. Clearly such a stark choice is an over-simplification; there is no simple question and no simple answer.”
I am not so sure I agree, however, that universities cannot afford or procure these devices. Fifteen or so years ago we were discussing whether universities could afford the numbers of computers needed for students to be assured computer access. Today many universities offer students the free use of laptops, cameras and digital camcorders in addition to fixed desktop computers.
Today I discovered the website for the Handheld Learning Conference. Apple appears to be taking the lead on the conference this year, which seems only to be expected given the iPhone and iPod derivatives (as well as the rumoured iTablet). The development first of iStanford (by which Stanford students can check grades, registration, and the whereabouts of the campus shuttle bus on their iPhones), and now of MobilEdu with Blackboard elevate the handheld device to the status of a VLE. At the same time, Sony has just released its updated models of e-book reader, and new eReaders from IREX and CoolReaders will surely appeal to students looking for a way to consolidate required readings into one digital package.
The Burnt Oak Junior School in Kent recently gave out iPod Touches to 32 8-year-old students for general school use. A short film describing the project can be seen here. Whilst watching it, I was reminded that it was only a few short years ago we were first hearing about schools buying fleets of laptops for uses not unlike this school’s use of the iPod Touch — but the iPod costs a fraction of the price of a laptop. Schools and universities are indeed investing in handheld-learning hardware as well as software. Students will begin to consider an iPhone or whatever handheld of choice to be as much a required purchase as a rucksack.
Posted by ILI Leicester on September 25, 2009
I was astonished when I read in the Commonwealth of Learning’s ‘Connections’ news sheet that “two-thirds of mobile phone subscribers live in the developing world, with subscriptions in Africa growing fastest.” What immense opportunities for socialisation and mobile learning! I’m sure you agree, Dick Ng’ambi (at the University of Cape Town).
Then I noticed that the Learning Lab at Wolverhampton University is holding a symposium in Telford, Oct 14-15, for those just starting to do research in mobile learning (Mobile Learning Early Researcher Symposium <http://www.learninglab.org.uk/asp/homepage.asp>). Yes, we do need more research into what is feasible in using mobile phones in this way.
Learning by ear
An older technology still offers much to learners who are mobile: a distance-education programme delivered by radio, Learning by Ear <http://www.elearning-africa.com/newsportal/english/news197.php>, is reaching out to a potential African audience of more than 33 million people. The productions are based around ten key themes, including: globalisation in Africa, environment, women and girls in Africa, health issues, political participation, and computer and Internet technology. The programme’s popularity lies in its broadcasts of true-to-life stories on these themes, whether as features, interviews or even soaps.
New for old?
But what if some kids swap their iPod or MP3 player for an old Walkman <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8117619.stm>? Thirteen-year-old Scott Campbell swapped for a week, discovering: “As I boarded the school bus, I was greeted with laughter”; “I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was used to switch between different types of cassette”; and “It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape.”
The Tablet, not the Pill
Is Steve Jobs about to launch the Apple Tablet (The Independent, August 26, 2009)? If so, will it be able to serve mobile learners as a phone, a radio and an MP3 or MP4 player? As well as doing everything else we wish for in mobile learning? What an opportunity for creativity!
Posted by ILI Leicester on August 31, 2009
In the Guardian (May 2) Ed Pilkington wrote about Ray Kurzweil, futurist and head of Google’s new Singularity University, which is housed at the headquarters of NASA in Silicon Valley and opening for students in July. To quote, this university will ‘bring together some of the biggest names in frontier disciplines such as bio- and nano-technology, neuroscience and artificial intelligence.’ The first cohort of 40 students will work together for nine weeks trying to come up with new ideas for tackling problems such as climate change, world poverty and hunger.
As Pilkington tells us, Kurzweil has an amazing record of inventions. In the 1970s he wrote programs to enable computers to read text and synthesise speech. By 1984 he had perfected electronic music synthesisers; by 1987 he had developed speech-to-text.
What particularly caught my eye was Kurzweil’s new idea of using the explosion of cellphones across Africa as an opportunity to write ‘software that would easily diagnose and provide remedial directions for leading local diseases’, as Pilkington wrote. Users of iPhones know how many applications (apps) they can already obtain: Kurzweil’s proposed app would give cellphone owners and their families a valuable source of advice regarding preventive medicine, presumably in their own language.
Mobile phones didn’t exist when I first wrote about information technology and education. Nor did the Internet. My own idea of what might happen in Africa was that the herdboys of Lesotho, looking after the cattle, would have a handheld device from which they could learn to read in their own language.
Herdboys in Lesotho still don’t have devices like that and perhaps they never will. But tens of millions of people in Africa do have mobile phones now, and before long they will be able to use them for far more than business deals and social chat. BDRA’s friend, Dick Ng’ambi at the University of Cape Town, is among the foremost African researchers in this field. See also, kindly provided by Gabi Witthaus, this interesting description: http://rolexawards.com/en/the-laureates/louisliebenberg-home.jsp.
*Hawkridge, David (1983, reprinted 1985) New information technology in education. London and Baltimore: Croom Helm and Johns Hopkins University Press.
Posted by ILI Leicester on June 9, 2009
Initiation rites are performed in many societies of the world to mark the passing from one phase of life unto another. Whilst they vary in their purposes, processes and activities, the central objective is the celebration of the end of one phase of life and transition into a new phase. Initiation rites thus acknowledge maturity, development, transformation and change as an ongoing process. Such transition provides the link between discontinuity and continuity, ending and new beginning, the past and the future following prescribed social rules, norms, and conventions. The occasion provides the individuals involved with the necessary instructions, support and guidance to discover and fulfil their personal ambitions and to live purposeful lives.
The rite of adulthood is perhaps the most important of the many sets of initiation rites. In western culture the status of adulthood is characterised by the 18th birthday which is the age at which most young people make the transition from secondary school or college into Higher Education. The event is marked by matriculation ceremonies in some institutions to both welcome and induct new learners into their respective HE community.
Academic discourse on learning transition (from FE to HE) has been the focus of much writing aimed at addressing concerns of learners in terms of adjusting into their new learning environment. Issues which have engaged the attention of most writers include, but are not limited to the factors influencing student retention, the impact of socio-cultural backgrounds on learner transition, student expectation of HE learning environments, information behavior of students preparing for transition, and type of support provided by institutions to help students make successful transition.
The question to be asked is, with the increasing move by most higher educational institutions to “online learning” and “learning across locations”, what new challenges will learner transitions bring and how do we reconceptualise learning support to make learning transition both meaningful and engaging? The IMPALA4T project provides a lot of food for thought.
Samuel Nikoi (12 May 2009)
Posted by ILI Leicester on May 12, 2009