Category Archives: mobile

New research report on 1:1 access to mobile learning devices

The University of Bristol is conducting research into the impact of 1:1 access to mobile learning devices at KS2 and KS4. Five schools, which are part of the Learning2Go or Hand-e-Learning projects, are being investigated.

This Development and Research project is using mixed methods to evaluate impact in terms of learners’ learning skills, attendance, behaviour and attainment. It will also review the success of the implementation and sustainability of the schools’ PDA initiatives and provide examples of emerging good pedagogic practice.

The final reports from the project will be available in Winter 2008.

The Summer 2007 Interim Report is available here.

Emerging recommendations include:

Implementation – policy

  • The initial implementation of mobile projects is logistically challenging.
  • The open negotiation of contracts of acceptable and responsible use with learners and parents can be very useful in clarifying issues and building mutual trust.
  • When learners expect devices to be used, they are more likely to bring them to school every day and keep them charged. When all pupils in a class have their devices with them, the learning benefits are optimised.
  • Teachers need to play an integral role in choosing software and content to ensure that it is relevant to learners’ needs. They are then more likely use the devices.
  • Where possible, all relevant staff – especially teaching assistants, ICT co-ordinators and teachers – should be provided with mobile devices.

Implementation – technical

  • It is beneficial to ensure reliable wireless connectivity.
  • It is useful to consider systems for dealing with breakages and temporary loss of use of devices. This may involve planning for temporary loan stock.
  • Systems for storage of and access to work need to be developed. Teachers and learners need to access digital work to provide and receive feedback.
  • Consideration can usefully be given to possible software solutions to teachers’ issues around observing process, tracking progress and formative assessment.

Professional development of teachers

  • Teachers benefit from having time to explore what the devices can do before integrating their use into planned learning.
  • Using mobile devices is likely to increase learner autonomy. Teachers need to ensure that learners are able to evaluate resources, think critically and reflect.
  • It is important to consider the ways in which mobile devices are integrated with other (ICT and traditional) tools in learning at home and at school.

Bluetoothing Facebook

Interesting article from the BBC on how researchers are using Bluetooth and Facebook.

A team of UK researchers is combining the power of social network Facebook with communications tool Bluetooth to learn more about human interactions.

Bath University scientists have created a tool which can use the unique ID of Bluetooth devices, like a mobile phone, to build new friendship networks.

Users register with the Facebook tool, called Cityware, that tracks encounters in the real world via Bluetooth.

A few thoughts on the Sony UX1XN

I am guessing I had quite high expectations about Sony’s UX1XN. I do like the UMPC format and I also like the Tablet PC edition of Windows XP. So with all the bells and whistles (two cameras, flash hdd, etc) I was really looking forward to getting my hands on it and seeing how it would pan out.

The keyboard is taking some getting use to, it is quite small, and I guess if you use a Treo or similar smartphone you would find it quite familiar. The only other UMPC I have used is the Samsung Q1 and that didn’t have an integral keyboard, but a USB one which you attached and as a result the Q1 was quite bulky (it also had a much larger 7″ screen compared to the 4.5″ UX1 screen). I am suspecting that I may well get a USB (or Bluetooth) keyboard for the UX1 if I am going to do any serious typing on it. What I am missing is the Tablet PC interface, I was under the impression that Tablet PC was an integral part of Vista, but I can’t seem to find the text input that you have under Windows XP (post a comment if you know how I can access it). I quite like using stylus input, but at the moment I don’t seem to be able to do that, however I have only had the UX1 for just over a day so it may just be that I can’t find it yet.

EDIT: I’ve found it! I’ve found the Tablet PC Text input and it works. Excellent. However if I try and use it with the Sony built-in “zoom” function I can blue screen the device, less good.

The camera(s) are also going to get some getting use to. The photographs I tried to take today were very blurred, but I suspect the dark conference room I was in was a large factor in that. The photographs I had taken yesterday were much better.

It is quite nippy though considering the low voltage (hence slow) processor, but I suspect the 1GB of RAM is also helping. One of the issues I had with the Q1 (and the HP TC1100 for that matter) was the lack of RAM. Windows (and Windows Vista especially) needs a lot of RAM.

I do like the form factor and it is a very neat and small laptop. I haven’t had a chance to really try out the battery life (another thing I found that I didn’t like with the Samsung Q1) so it will be interesting to see how that works out in the real world.

Still early days really.

Sony VAIO UX1XN

Today I should get my Sony VAIO UX1XN. This is an UMPC from Sony which to be honest is a really nice piece of kit.

Sony VAIO UX1

Apart from using it as a Vista PC (this will be my first real experience of Vista) I will be evaluating the usefulness of the device for both staff and learners.

It has a tiny 4.5″ screen (1024×800) and a dinky little keyboard. However it has two cameras, 32GB Flash-based hard drive and has both 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth.

It will be interesting to see how it performs and how difficult it will be to use with such a small screen, will add further thoughts and experiences later.

Do traditional lectures deliver?

Undergraduates are usually way ahead of their tutors when it comes to IT. But texts, podcasts and Web 2.0 can enhance their learning

iPodConsider the evidence. Students are increasingly digitally literate and techno-savvy. There’s no longer a student stereotype; no one-size-fits-all in terms of age, diversity, disability, financial or family commitments. They live and learn in a 24/7 society, juggling family, work and social commitments. We’re also seeing the rise of students as consumers, and managing the expectations this creates falls firmly to lecturers on the front line. Students demand inspired, interactive teaching. Do traditional lectures deliver?

Read more.

Molenet

I am attending the information day on Molenet.

The Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET) is a unique collaborative approach to encouraging, supporting, expanding and promoting mobile learning, primarily in the English Further Education sector, via supported shared cost mobile learning projects.

Collaboration at UK national level involves colleges and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) sharing the cost of projects introducing or expanding mobile learning and the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) providing a support programme.

There is some interesting ideas here, and the £6m for capital expenditure will provide a definite boost to mobile-learning in the FE sector.

Currently listening to Lilian Soon giving a very interesting and informative presentation on m-learning.