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Learning Unplugged a post-conference Mobile-Learning report

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Learning Unplugged a post-conference Mobile-Learning report

    UNPLUGGED

    LEARNING:

    A report on the rise of mobile

    technology in learning.

    November 2004

    ? Elizabeth Valentine 2004; all rights reserved.

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Foreword

    This report was prepared to capture the information and knowledge gained by the

    writer at the MLearn conference in Rome, 5-6 July 2004.

A desk-top survey, and thus preliminary research was carried out so this document as

    such is not an empirical study. However research that was presented at the

    conference is incorporated as appropriate.

Research methods comprised internet searches, a literature review, and a range of

    interviews with academic and industry providers. The main contributors were the UK

    members of the MLearning Project, Ultralab UK, Learning and Skills Development

    Agency UK, Cambridge Training and Development and Complete Learning UK.

The document also draws on the writer‟s two research papers in eLearning. As an

    independent e-learning researcher Elizabeth Valentine has also published research on

    “The Convergence of Knowledge Management and E-learning” in 2002 (Henley MBA

    Dissertation) and “E-Learning: an Overview Study the market and New Zealand‟s

    capability” in 2004 for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

    Dedicated to my dad, Maurice H Haley, who died just after I returned

    from the conference, and without who’s inspiration as a teacher I would

    not have an enduring interest in learning and teaching.

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Acknowledgements

    This report was commissioned by the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the

    Ministry of Research, Science and Technology and written by Elizabeth Valentine, an

    independent eLearning researcher and analyst.

    Many people gave generously of their time in interviews and in sharing their

    knowledge and experience. Those organisations underlined have been major

    contributors. Those not underlined mostly contributed in conference conversations

    and informal meetings, or personal correspondence:

    ? Ultralab UK - Richard Millwood, Jean Johnson, Tom Stacey, Stephen Powell, Stan

    Owers, Mark Constable, Jonny Dyer, Alice Mitchell, Carole Chapman, Leonie

    Ramondt, Kris Popat.

    ? Learning & Skills Development Agency UK Jill Attewell

    ? Cambridge Training and Development UK, - Geoff Stead

    ? Complete Learning UK - Martin Deans

    ? The Ministry of Education NZ Murray Brown, Murray Leach, Carolyn Holmes, ? Games2Train USA - Marc Prensky

    ? Athabasca University Canada Dr Mohamed Ally ? Australian Army Simon Geddes

    ? BBC UK Paul Scott

    ? Centrul de Afaceri Transilvania Dr Radu_Adrian Mlesnita ? CIBIT Holland Prof. Michael Kelleher

    ? CityLink NZ Neil de Wit

    ? Games2Train USA Marc Prensky

    ? Giunti Interactive Labs Italy - Fabrizio Cardinali

    ? Intel Ireland Gerard Smyth

    ? Nokia Riitta Vanska

    ? Salburg Research Germany Veronika Hornung-Prahauser ? TAFE Australia Caryl Oliver

    ? University of Birmingham UK Dr Russell Beale, Paul Kiddie, Dr Mike Sharples,

    Daniel Corlett

    ? University of Copenhagen Denmark - Trine Middelbo Sorensen

    ? University of Hagen Germany Dr Georg Strohlein ? University of Helsinki, Finland Janne Sariola ? University of Klagenfurt Germany Stefan Plattner ? University of Wolverhampton UK John Traxler ? Vodafone NZ - Reece Kingi; Vodafone UK - Gordon Bull, Jonathan Helps

    ? Various people at the MLearn 2004, Rome Conference 5-6 July conference whose

    brains I picked but whose contact details I did not get.

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    Foreword ................................................................................................................................. 2 Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................. 3 Unplugged Learning. ............................................................................................................... 5 1: Executive summary ......................................................................................................... 5 2: Background ..................................................................................................................... 7 2.1 Differences between eLearning and mLearning ......................................................... 9 2.2 Scenarios for mLearning .......................................................................................... 10 2.2.1: Scenarios using mobile phones ........................................................................... 10 2.2.2: Scenarios using Pocket PCs ................................................................................ 10 2.2.3: Scenarios using devices & functionality in the not too distant future..................... 12 2.3: The rapid uptake and ubiquitous nature of mobile devices ...................................... 13 2.4: Trends in the use of mobile devices by young people ............................................. 15 2.4: Three key trends in mobile technology: ...................................................................... 17 2.4.1: Convergence ....................................................................................................... 17 2.4.2: Mobile internet ..................................................................................................... 17 2.4.3: Geolocation ......................................................................................................... 18 2.4.3.1: Case study #1 Singapore CitySIM. .................................................................. 18 3: Key issues for mLearning .................................................................................................. 20 3.1: Strategy ...................................................................................................................... 20 3.1.1: Blended learning .................................................................................................. 21 3.1.2 Case study #2 NotSchool.net................................................................................ 22 3.1.3: Case study #3 European Commission funded mLearning Project ....................... 22 3.1.4: Case study #4 RAFT ........................................................................................... 23 3.2 Usability: Learning with small screens ......................................................................... 24 3.2.1: Convergence and interoperability ........................................................................ 24 3.2.2: Unplugged connectivity ........................................................................................ 25 3.2.3: Unplugged accessibility ....................................................................................... 26 3.2.4: Software and learning materials ........................................................................... 26 3.2.4.1: Software and materials issues example #1 CTAD ............................................ 27 3.2.4.2: Software and hardware issues example #2, Complete Learning UK ................. 27 3.2.5: Standards ............................................................................................................ 28 3.2.6: Other barriers ...................................................................................................... 29 3.3: People students and teacher impacts ...................................................................... 29 3.3.1 Mind shift #1 mLearning uses rich multi-media .................................................. 30 3.3.2 Mind shift #2 mLearning can enhance & enrich the learning experience. ........... 30 3.4 Teachers and technology ............................................................................................ 31 3.4.1 Case study #5 engaging learners & non-standard assessment .......................... 32 3.4.2 Teachers using technology to design learning experiences .................................. 32 3.5 Policy impacts ............................................................................................................. 33 4: Conclusions....................................................................................................................... 35 4.1 Educational conclusions: ............................................................................................. 35 4.1.1 Content: ................................................................................................................ 35 4.1.2 Devices: ................................................................................................................ 35 4.1.3 Learner issues and benefits: ................................................................................. 36 4.1.4 Teacher issues and benefits: ................................................................................ 37 4.2 Recommendations....................................................................................................... 37 References: ........................................................................................................................... 39

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     Unplugged Learning.

1: Executive summary

Mobile consumer, education and business applications are flourishing. Wireless and

    handheld technologies are already reshaping many industries including e-Learning.

    Convergent technologies, especially those involving hand-held, mobile devices are changing

    how, when and where people communicate, transact business and access information for a

    wide range of reasons including learning.

    Mobile Learning or mLearning is relatively new. To leverage the advantages of mobile,

    especially digital mobile technology, will require that learning professionals extend their views

    and applications of learning models and theories (not just eLearning) to address the needs of

    an increasingly mobile and unplugged society. “The arrival of the pervasive digital media environment in the school, home and office seems imminent. The key factors contributing to

    this include:

    ? “Increasingly wider availability of broadband

    ? “Increased interest in home networks

    ? “Increased sophistication of personal digital devices

    ? “Ever-increasing libraries of digital content and knowledge bases.” (Smyth 2004.)

    MLearning has the potential to weave itself into the fabric of a learner or worker‟s study, business and personal activities, when and where they need it. While in 2004 these are very

    early days, mobile devices are already being used in education and corporate training to

    connect expertise with remote learners; to engage otherwise disenfranchised groups of

    learners; to contextualise research projects and support action learning. While demand may

    currently be slow,” the potential is significant.” (Bielawski & Metcalf 2003.)

    Where mobile learning fits in a wide range of possible learning design and delivery methods

    as a part of a “blended” learning strategy is discussed. Trends in mobile technology such as

    convergence, digital mobile and geolocation are raised and lead to the conclusion that there

    are issues and benefits in four categories:

    1. content for mobile devices

    2. The range of devices and the wide range of functionality

    3. Learners - how to engage and retain their interest when learning in this medium

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    4. Teachers how they‟ll need to upskill, change and collaborate to make the most of

    the fast changing unplugged world their students are “native” to and in which they

    are expected to teach.

    Key questions emerge: Will mLearning leverage the increasingly wide range of mobile and

    wireless enabled devices? What are the impacts for educators and learners? In what ways do

    our views of learning and learning delivery need to change? How might unplugged, hand-held

    learning impact instructional design and the technical and policy frameworks within which m-

    Learning will be designed and delivered?

    This paper represents a “desk-top” analysis of the emergence of mLearning as a sub-set of

    eLearning. It draws on the writer‟s experience and research into the wider topic of eLearning

    and reports observations and interviews carried out at the July 2004 MLearn Conference in

    Rome (at which the writer presented a paper) and with a small sample of UK and New

    Zealand-based educators and policy makers.

    Keywords: m-learning, convergence, interoperability, standards, content and curriculum,

    design, paradigm shifts.

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2: Background

    Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have undergone dramatic

    changes in the last 25 years, each time providing opportunities for the education and

    training sectors. The 1980‟s saw the rise of the Personal Computer (PC), which

    brought computing into the home, and in education, put computing and computer

    based training into the classroom. This was the start of the notion of anywhere,

    anytime learning. The 1990‟s saw the emergence of the World-Wide-Web (the web),

    building on the infrastructure of the Internet, which revolutionised the availability and

    delivery of information and learning content.

    The implications of web technologies on education, often described in terms of e-

    learning, are already far reaching; the potential is still being explored and debated.

    Much was promised and many were disappointed, often because content developers

    did not take the leap required to leverage the power of the e-medium available to them

    for learning and learning support. Much, often little more than electronic page-turning,

    was churned out with little consideration for what constituted effective instructional

    design and delivery in the e-medium. “Statistically significant gains in educational attainment are shown only in several areas and these are very small. (DfES Becta

    2002.) The general belief has been that technology has been imposed without due

    regard to technique, effectiveness and appropriateness and without consideration of

    learning theories and pedagogies.” (Rentoul et al 2001.)

    However, “In the midst of this information revolution, we are now confronted with a

    third wave of novel technologies, that of mobile and wearable computing, where

    computing devices are already becoming small enough so that we can carry them

    around on us at all times, and, in addition, they have the ability to interact with devices

    embedded in the environment. The emergence of this new wave of technologies offers

    many opportunities in the education sector.” (de Freitas & Levene 2003.)

    MLearning is where mobile telephony, internet and wireless enabled computing and

    eLearning converge. It means the increasing capability to learn or support a learning

    experience anytime, anywhere through bite sized instances or nuggets of learning

    from a note-book, tablet, wearable device, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA)

    or pocket PC (PPC).

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    An increasing number of learning professionals and observers in the UK, Europe and the United States are predicting that mLearning is both different from and

    potentially more impactful than learning delivered by plugged in, desk-top computers.

    The advantages being discussed highlight:

    ? Greater flexibility for the learner in terms of where they choose to study,

    ? How learners receive, collect data for and/or complete assignments,

    ? How action learning and research are supported and

    ? How learners record and share study data

    ? How making appropriate use of increasingly sophisticated multimedia features

    in digital mobile devices can assist with both learning and valid assessment.

    Wearable and mobile devices allow the student to interact with data in a more casual and differentiated way. They are also considered to be cool thus reducing a

    possible barrier to learning through this medium.

    Learners can chose a range of media within a pocket PC such as phone, audio or video, SMS, MMS, MP3 or the internet to connect to other learners or sources of

    learning, informing or transacting. Learners have an increasing range of multimedia

    tools available to assist with or utilise in their learning experience. For example the i-

    Mate PPC which is marketed in Europe as the XDA2, runs Microsoft Windows with

    Word, Excel and Windows Media Player standard and PowerPoint a pay to down-

    load. This PPC also is a phone, has a video, digital still camera and audio recorder, is

    blue-tooth, infrared, WiFi and Internet browser enabled, as well as a Palm type

    organiser and miniature games console. The power of this early convergent device

    with optional add-ons (such as portable mini keyboard and data-show jack) can

    replace the need for a separate lap-top computer, digital camera, mobile phone,

    organiser and MP3 player. And while the digital camera, for example is currently

    only .3 mega pixels, this is predicted to change to 1.5 2 mega pixels within 18

    1months to two years.

     1 It is understood that the next version of the XDA has been released in UK/Europe November 2004.

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    The added functionality of location sensing devices using GPS and GPRS can provide information about where the learners or learning interest sites are located and

    can tightly focus learning bites based on precise context. (Based on de Freitas &

    Levene 2003.)

    2.1 Differences between eLearning and mLearning

    There are differences between mLearning and eLearning. Emerging differences are varied.

    ? mLearning offers greater flexibility in where and when learning happens.

    ? mLearning is causing educators to rethink how learning happens and how

    specific learning needs and styles are expanded and enabled with

    multifunctional hand-held devices

    ? There is already strong evidence that students from a wide variety of age

    groups and different educational institution types (advantaged vs

    disadvantaged; private vs public: bricks and mortar vs distance;) are finding

    hand-helds a useful and engaging adjunct to traditional learning methods, with

    measurable results

    ? Handheld technology is already ubiquitous, covering a wide range of different

    device types

    ? Ownership of mobile devices is already penetrating community segments

    previously disadvantaged within the PC-related digital divide

    ? Phone technology advances are reaching critical mass faster than plugged in

    PC technology, because of the depth and breadth of market and multi-segment

    penetration.

    (Attewell & Savill-Smith 2003; Caughlin 2003; Corlett & Sharples 2004; Tamahori

    2004; Valentine 2002; 2004.)

    From smart cell phones and PDAs to webpads and wearable devices, one-time curiosities are now indispensable business and learning tools. We now have a delivery

    system for learning, communicating, collaborating and supporting on-job performance

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as well as transacting; and that represents a pretty powerful bag of tricks. (Based on

    Gayeski, 2002, pg 13.)

    2.2 Scenarios for mLearning

    To highlight the differences between eLearning and mLearning, here are some

    scenarios using:

    a) Mobile phones

    b) PPCs

    c) Wearable and advanced digital mobile devices.

    2.2.1: Scenarios using mobile phones

    ? A student sees a poster on a cafeteria wall challenging her to improve her

    maths. She tries the 15 questions, texts her answers to the number on the

    poster and gets an instant assessment (with details of who to contact if she

    needs help or wants information about options).

    ? A foreign language student is practising his vocabulary and pronunciation skills.

    He calls up a phone number that simulates various situations (e.g. buying a bus

    ticket) and speaks a phrase. The simulation gives him feedback on his

    grammar and his pronunciation. He keys a different phrase into his device

    (which contains translation software), and receives these back translated in

    written and auditory form (with correct pronunciation). He can learn new words

    2and phrases and practice exact location, situation or topic-related sentences.

    ? A woman is waiting for a bus. She is taking her driving theory test in a week

    and is a bit nervous about it, so she loads an interactive game onto her phone

    that lets her practise and score „quiz‟-style questions while she waits.

    2.2.2: Scenarios using Pocket PCs

    ? A group of students are studying the Monarch Butterfly. Using a range of PPC

    functions the children are able to plot the time, location and all phases of

     2 Geoff Stead of Cambridge Training and Development (CTAD) advises that while not all technical

    issues associated with this example can be dealt with on a single device, that it‟s “not very far off at all”.

    (Stead 2004.)

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