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A TEACHER'S GUIDE TO THE M-LEARNING STANDARDS

By Edward Riley,2014-07-06 13:43
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THIS GUIDE IS A COMPANION DOCUMENT TO THE THE AUSTRALIAN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (VET) SYSTEM'S M-LEARNING STANDARDS REPORT (M-STANDARDS) ...

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    A Guide to working with M-learning Standards

A manual for Teachers, Trainers and Developers

11 April 2007

    Version 1.0

    By Margaret O‟Connell and John Smith

flexiblelearning.net.au

Version information

Version Date Comments

    1.0 2007-04-11

This document was produced in consultation with:

    Vivienne Blanksby

    Ros Howell

    Ian Kenny

    Leonard Low

    Owen O’Neill

    Marcus Ragus

    Sue Water

    The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth of Australia.

? Commonwealth of Australia 2007

    This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced without prior written permission. However, permission is given to trainers and teachers to make copies by photocopying or other duplicating processes for use within their own training organisation or in a workplace where the training is being conducted. This permission does not extend to the making of copies for use outside the immediate training environment for which they are made, nor the making of copies for hire or resale to third parties. Requests and inquiries concerning other reproduction and rights should be directed in the first instance to the Director, ICT Policy Section, Department of Education, Science and Training, GPO Box 9880, Canberra, ACT, 2601.

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Contents

    How do I use this guide? ..................................................................................................................... 4 What is m-learning? ............................................................................................................................ 4 m-learning = digital mobile learning .................................................................................................. 4 Good m-learning .............................................................................................................................. 5 What are m-learning standards? ......................................................................................................... 5 What sorts of activities are possible with m-learning? ....................................................................... 6 Learners can tell it's good m-learning ............................................................................................... 9 Teachers can tell it's good m-learning .............................................................................................. 9 Developers can tell it's good m-learning ........................................................................................... 9 How do I use m-learning standards in practice? .................................................................................10 Creating audio resources ................................................................................................................10 Creating video resources ................................................................................................................12 Web content and communication ....................................................................................................15 Portable documents ........................................................................................................................16 Activities and interactive content .....................................................................................................17 Cross-platform activities and content ..............................................................................................18 Using networked, wireless and proximal devices for learning ..........................................................20

    Useful tools for m-learning..................................................................................................................22 Tools for online publishing ..............................................................................................................22 Tools for creating resources............................................................................................................22 Tools for converting and formatting .................................................................................................22 Useful m-learning guides and case studies .........................................................................................23 Glossary of terms and abbreviations ..................................................................................................23 Further reading ..................................................................................................................................25 Appendix A Typical generic specifications for mobile devices ..........................................................26

    1. Mobile phones .........................................................................................................................26

    2. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) ..........................................................................................28

    3. Personal digital media players* ................................................................................................30

    4. Personal digital multimedia players* ........................................................................................30

    5. Portable gaming consoles .......................................................................................................31

    6. Ultra-Mobile Personal Computers (UMPCs) .............................................................................31

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    7. Glossary of specification terms and abbreviations ....................................................................32

    How do I use this guide?

    This Guide is a companion document to the the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system‟s M-learning Standards report (m-Standards) illustrating the way mobile learning standards can be used in teaching and learning in the Australian VET system.

    The Guide aims to provide a bridge between the technical requirements of mobile technologies and the teaching and learning strategies teachers, resource developers and learners may wish to employ.

    The m-Standards cover topics such as display resolutions, storage, memory and processor capacities of digital mobile devices, and outline what could be considered default specifications for hardware and software for mobile devices and supporting technologies. The expected audience for the report is educational technologists, resource developers and technicians.

    Consulting the W3C recommendations in conjunction with the m-Standards, will provide an understanding of the broader frame in which the m-Standards fit (see http://www.w3c.org). In particular, it is recommended you review the W3C Mobile Best Practices 1.0 (November 2006, see http://www.w3.org/TR/mobile-bp/).

    It is also recommended that you review the „content formats‟ table on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework‟s e-standards website at:

    http://e-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au/topics/formats.htm.

    This guide to the M-learning Standards aims to help a wide range of people working in many different contexts. The extent to which you choose to implement the recommended standards will be dependent on your situation, the needs, and abilities of people you are working with as well as the opportunities and limitations presented by the equipment and infrastructure available.

    The Guide provides:

    ; an introduction to mobile devices and m-learning including a table outlining the

    capabilities, pros and cons of various devices,

    ; an introduction to various formats used in m-learning (e.g. audio, video, etc)

    including discussion of existing practices and how the format can be used in an m-

    learning context to enhance or alter practice, and

    ; at least one case study illustrating the format and mobile device(s) in a specific

    learning or teaching setting.

    What is m-learning?

    m-learning = digital mobile learning

    Many learning activities could be categorised as “mobile learning”. Well-established

    resources such as books, audio cassettes and the like have provided opportunities for people to engage in learning activities in all manner of places for many years. However,

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    M-learning standards guide

    while “mobile learning” could encompass all kinds of activities where learning happens out of a formal classroom situation, the terms “mobile learning” or “m-learning” are used here

    to refer specifically to learning that is facilitated and enhanced by the use of digital mobile devices that can be carried and used anywhere and anytime. Such devices include:

    ; Mobile Phones

    ; PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants)

    ; Personal Digital Media Players (e.g. iPods, MP3 players)

    ; Smart Phones.

    Whilst Laptop computers, tablet PCs and Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs) can also be used to facilitate mobile learning, the m-learning Standards currently focus on the suite of devices that are typically identified by their small screen, lack of standard keyboard and pocket-sized nature.

    Good m-learning

    Good m-learning uses good teaching and learning practices and makes the most of being

    mobile. It is the learner who is mobile rather than the device (Sharples, Taylor & Vavoula, 2005) and this key principle should inform all other m-learning principles. Good m-learning makes the most of being on location, providing immediate access, being connected, and acknowledges learning that occurs beyond (and in conjunction with) formal learning settings, in places such as the workplace, home, and outdoors. There are a number of other sources of information on m-learning to support you when you are ready to try an m-learning approach in your own courses. Many of these highlight the benefits of m-learning and discuss aspects of m-learning pedagogy and practice in more depth than this document. Some further reading and case studies can be located at the end of this Guide.

    What are m-learning standards?

    The Framework‟s m-Standards seek to help the decision-making process easier for teachers and developers by providing information addressing the nature of mobile devices and the baseline standards that optimise their use.

    The e-Learning Consortium at the Masie Centre NY outlined six “abilities” that define Standards in e-learning. These are:

    ; interoperability (ability of two or more systems to share information),

    ; reusability (ability to reuse or modify existing systems, data or code),

    ; manageability (ability to monitor and maintain systems, data or code),

    ; accessibility (ability of many users to access a system and its data or code),

    ; durability (ability of a system to endure over time),

    ; scalability (ability of a system to handle growing amounts of information and work),

    and

    ; affordability (ability of systems and data to remain in financial reach of users) (2003,

    pp.10-11).

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    M-learning standards guide

    The following basic principles can help to guide decision-making in applying m-learning standards.

    ; Ensure resources are compatible with baseline (“default”) delivery contexts, and

    minimise demands on memory, processor, and presentation

    ; Exploit the capabilities of specific devices to maximise quality and usability, either

    through adaptable content or delivery modes, or by providing alternative formats

    for resources optimised for a range of devices

    ; Remember that the speed at which mobile devices can access networked data

    wirelessly is well below the speeds via a network (e.g. broadband or LAN), with the

    cost of data rates still very high. Content prepared for wireless delivery needs to be

    much leaner than content prepared for local networks for example, especially in

    terms of loading and playback. Some loss in quality is to be expected. The m-Standards are organized into the following topics:

    Client Platforms Mobile Content Development

    ; Delivery Platforms ; Accessibility

    ; Removable Storage Memory Formats ; Content Packaging

    ; Metadata

    Mobile Content Delivery Mobile Content Support

    ; Mobile Web Services ; Mobile Audio

    ; Wireless Data Connectivity ; Mobile Video

    ; Proximal Learning Technologies ; Mobile Web

    ; Still Images

    ; Document Publication

    ; Interactive Media

Reflecting the ideals of the e-Learning Consortium‟s 6 „abilities‟, the m-standards are

    concerned with facilitating optimal compatibility and „fit-for-purpose‟ capability.

    This Guide for teachers and resources developers provides an overview of the application of the m-learning Standards.

    Henry Lichstein (2002) claimed that standards follow practice, not lead it. So, you are encouraged to use the m-learning standards and this Guide to assist you in decision making around m-learning but don‟t let them constrain you in experimenting and trialling

    new ideas and strategies in teaching with technology. Your new practices may well inform the standards of the future.

    A Glossary of technical terms and abbreviations and a list of useful tools, guides and

    case studies are located at the end of the Guide.

    What sorts of activities are possible with m-learning? The following table outlines the basic capabilities of mobile device types and provides a brief commentary on the pros and cons of the features they offer. The comments are made in the context of the appropriateness to specific learning activities and teaching strategies that the devices may support.

    To use the table, consider the teaching and learning strategies you will use and what you Australian Flexible Learning Framework 6

    M-learning standards guide

    expect m-learning to contribute. In the Capability column, find the function required for the

    m-learning activities you are planning and then weigh the pros and con of the various

    devices that offer those capabilities. A description of typical specifications for each device type listed below is provided in

    Appendix A.

Device Capability Pros Cons

    Basic mobile phone SMS Low initial cost Minimal features (* see appendix A.1(a)) Calling Low ongoing costs Small screen

    SMS Multimedia features High initial cost High-end mobile phone (*

    see appendix A.1(b)) MMS (camera, video) Interactivity High ongoing

    costs Calling

    Small coloured Web access screen Email enabled Slow to input large Bluetooth amounts of data

    Audio/video

    viewing/recording

    SMS Multimedia features High initial cost Smart phone (* see

    appendix A.1(c)) MMS (camera, video) High ongoing

    costs Calling

    Slow to input large Web access amounts of data Bluetooth

    Email enabled

    Wireless enabled

    Document, image, audio,

    video viewing/recording

    Document, image viewing Low initial cost Minimal features Basic PDA (* see

    appendix A.2(a)) Read/edit and file Variable processor

    handling capability

    Slow to input large

    amounts of data

    Bluetooth High initial cost High-end PDA (* see Greater storage appendix A.2(b)) capacity Email enabled Slow to input large

    amounts of data Wireless enabled

    Document, image, audio,

    video viewing/recording

    Read/edit and file

    handling

    On-board resources and

    interactions

    Easy to use Low cost Portable digital media Audio file handling/

    players (* see appendix recording

    A.3)

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    M-learning standards guide

    Device Capability Pros Cons

    Easy to use High initial cost Portable digital Image, audio, video

    multimedia players (* see viewing/recording Small screen High storage appendix A.4) capacity

    Wireless enabled Easy to use Small screen Portable gaming

    consoles (* see appendix On-board resources and Can expand storage A.5) interactions capacity

    High initial cost Ultra-mobile and Tablet Read/edit and file Keyboard input for

    PCs (* see appendix A.6) handling large amounts of Keyboard not data Wireless enabled ergonomic

    Larger screen On-board resources and

    interactions

    Device The mobile devices listed are not intended to be indicative of any particular model. Instead the titles are used to group devices into generic categories ranging from a very basic mobile phone to a high-end PDA (see Appendix A for details).

    Capability The capability of a mobile device describes the typical features of a device in a particular category. For example, a basic mobile phone has calling and SMS. We can assume that these features are available across the board, when it comes to mobile phones.

    Pros This column comments on the strengths of the device that can be taken into account when determining its suitability for any given m-learning context.

    Cons This column comments on the drawbacks of particular devices and their capabilities that

    impact on selecting a mobile device for m-learning.

    Weighing the pros and cons of a device will help in determining whether that device will work in a relevant m-learning context.

    A particular device may have the functionality required for your planned m-learning activities but it may be too costly for the learner group that you are working with. The cost of the device (initial investment) and using the device (ongoing investment) should be taken into consideration when developing learning activities to be carried out using a mobile device. For example, if you wish to involve learners in SMS games, you should consider how much students will spend on sending SMS. Is the cost itself a reasonable “investment” in their learning?

    Asking students to incur the costs of searching for information on the Internet using their mobile phone when there may be a classroom with internet connected computers available would be inappropriate given that data rates for mobile Web access are still relatively expensive.

    It is worth stepping into the learners shoes to see how they might receive m-learning; what they expect from it and how they might manage it. Overall, consider how appropriate it is to develop and use m-learning by asking yourself:

    ; Does it extend the learning and make it better?

    ; Is the mobile technology accessible for learners and teachers?

    The following points briefly outline how learners, teachers and developers can tell if the m-learning developed is good practice.

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    M-learning standards guide

    Learners can tell it's good m-learning

    When:

    ; an m-learning experience enhances the context or authenticity of learning. Learning

    activities and resources can be developed to target use in particular places and at

    particular times (e.g. a short quiz on "The Sky at Night," for a PDA which can be done

    outside at night under the stars, or a learning activity on bread varieties that the learner

    accesses while standing in a bakery)

    ; it enables flexible and convenient use, such as an audio recording that can be listened to

    by the learner while they are jogging or ironing. An inferior mobile learning resource is one

    which ignores or fails to consider how, where, or when it is likely to be best accessed by a

    learner

    ; materials are packaged in a form that makes them easy to load onto a learner's mobile

    device, without requiring the user to alter the format. If necessary, a resource may be made

    available in multiple formats, clearly labeled as compatible with various devices. The m-

    learning Standards document can assist teachers and developers in deploying m-learning

    resources and activities in the most appropriate forms

    ; m-learning allows the learner to use the power of mobile devices they already own, to

    enhance and support their learning, everywhere they are.

    Teachers can tell it's good m-learning

    When:

    ; an m-learning approach enhances the teaching strategy or authentic context for delivery

    without detracting from other pedagogical considerations

    ; learning materials support equal access to learning, by providing materials in a range of

    formats. For example, a learner who is unable to access a mobile learning resource using a

    mobile phone, media player, or PDA, should still be able to access a version of the learning

    activity using a web browser, or via downloadable or print based resources ; an m-learning approach responds to the diversity of the learner group, learning needs and

    styles and provides situated, relevant and flexible learning activities. Developers can tell it's good m-learning

    When:

    ; an m-learning approach enhances learning by improving its contextualization or

    convenience, without significantly detracting from technical or interface considerations such

    as reliability, usability or accessibility

    ; an m-learning resource can be accessed by a wide variety of mobile devices (i.e. cross-

    platform compatibility), taking advantage of the features of any mobile device, without

    compromising functionality or specifications set out in the M-learning Standards ; an m-learning resource that is made more widely available (to other teachers or beyond an

    institute) is packaged with the appropriate Vetadata descriptor(s) that indicate it is suitable

    for mobile delivery in a VET context.

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    How do I use m-learning standards in practice? The following sections outline potential m-learning activity or resource development and how best to cater for each, depending on context, device, learning outcomes and user needs. Each example provided relates to corresponding information in the VET M-learning Standards document wherever possible.

    These basic principles should guide you in the set up and development of m-learning practices:

    ; Ensure resources are cross-compatible with baseline (“default”) delivery contexts, and

    minimise demands on memory, processor, and presentation

    ; Exploit the capabilities of specific devices to maximise quality and usability, either

    through adaptable content or delivery modes, or by providing alternative formats for

    resources optimised for a range of devices

    ; Expect a loss in quality, particularly for audio and video content which is dependent on the

    storage, processing and resolution specifications of mobile devices

    ; Exploit the creation capacity of mobile devices as much as their ability to hold information

    for learning. This includes revisiting the roles of your learners as “co-creators” of their own

    learning resources and materials.

    Creating audio resources

    Recording and replaying sound files has been a popular method for learning “on the move” for a few decades now. However, lectures, speeches, or notes that may have once been recorded on audio cassette using a Walkman or micro-recorder are now recorded using digital media players, mobile phones or iPods. Audio resources that were once distributed on cassette or CD can now be recorded and delivered as a digital file that can be played on a digital media player, PDA, or mobile phone. The quality of an audio recording depends on the amount of data used to store information about the sound being encoded in general, the more data (and the larger the file size), the more natural sounding the recorded audio will be.

    When a sound file is compressed, part of the information about the sound is thrown away; however, most sound compression methods do this very cleverly, and are able to preserve almost all of the original sound quality using a fraction of the original file size. Different methods for achieving this compression vary in success for different audio requirements:

Audio Details Good For… Not Good For…

    MP3 Most widely used file format suitable for Quality at low bitrates; Quality

    music and speech; to data weight ratio;

    Can be shared between some mobile Not supported by 3GP or

    devices via Bluetooth or infrared; 3GPP mobile phone

    standards; Supported by desktop computers as well

    as mobile devices

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