The following is a reflection on Week 3 of the Trends in eLearning module using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.
Class today incorporated the flipped classroom approach where we had to watch Geoff Stead’s TEDx talk on mobile learning and to read the article Defining Mobile Learning in the Higher Education Landscape. Geoff Stead uses the phrase Ubuntu which means I AM ME BECAUSE OF US. In other words our education doesn’t happen alone but with us helping other people. He discusses the potential of mobile learning and how we can use tools that most students have and leverage it into class. He discusses how true mobility is where the learning follows the learner and the dynamics change where the teachers becomes a collaborator and explorer.
The article aims to clarify the definition of mobile learning in higher education under three concepts – mobility of technology, learner and learning process/flow of information. It concludes with the definition ‘any type of learning that takes place in learning environments and spaces that take account of the mobility of technology, mobility of learners and mobility of learning’ (El-Hussein and Cronje, 2010, p.20).
We were also asked to download Animoto, Bonfyre, Google Apps, Mindmeister and Socrative to our phones. Class was practical in nature where we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in using apps in a classroom environment from the perspective of the student and teacher.
I enjoyed the Geoff Stead video and particularly how mobile learning has benefited those in disadvantaged areas. However, I found the article difficult to read. Whilst exposure to Bonfyre was good, I feel that the use of a discussion board would be more beneficial and less invasive. I also feel excited about the integration of technology in the classroom and will attempt to be innovative in my approaches in the future.
This practical and interactive session was very relevant and has instilled an excitement and motivation for me to immerse myself even further into mobile learning. It was very beneficial to get the opportunity to demonstrate these apps and whilst there were issues with the Wi-Fi I was able to use my data and experience it all. Some apps I was already familiar with i.e. Google Apps and Socrative.
During the lecture Frances used Explain Everything and asked some students to write their answers into the iPad which was mirrored onto the screen. I also liked the implementation of the Twitter Wall using Tweet Wally. Both are a great way to gain attention and promote engagement. Overall, some good tips were given and I came away with some new tools.
On reflection, I need to stop using my mobile as a swiss army knife (taken from Geoff Stead’s video) and incorporate it more into the classroom. My analysis does fit it with Frances’s slide on the integration of mobile technologies in a meaningful way. In other words, mobile learning is not a substitute for teaching but a method/tool that we can use to enhance the learning process. Augmentation and redefinition are fundamental.
As discussed during the lecture feedback is imperative and mobile apps such as Socrative give us real time feedback. Coming from the adult education sector not all students have smartphones so the use of Plickers is a great alternative and something I will certainly be using very soon. I was surprised that audio feedback is being used as I associate technology with more visual formats but on reflection, it coheres with auditory preferences. Such an app is Kaizena which enables the teacher to give personalised voice comments conveying tone and emotion in the feedback.
Mobile learning is certainly an emerging trend in Ireland particularly with the rise in the number of smartphone users. It enables both formal and informal learning and can enhance learning by facilitating engagement and collaboration. However, as was demonstrated in class today some students may find the technology overwhelming and not all students are equipped with a smartphone. It is also dependent on good internet access. Geoff Stead has used mobile learning to reach out and educate students in disadvantaged areas. With the explosion of apps available there are more tools for us to use and getting students to use their smarthpones in a constructive way is a step in the right direction.
To review these apps in my own practice and to post my feedback in my Tech Review page. Continue working on the annotated bibliography and presentation.
El-Hussein, M. O. M., & Cronje, J. C. (2010). Defining Mobile Learning in the Higher Education Landscape. Educational Technology & Society, 13(3), 12-21.