Mobile devices (3 Short Papers 0150, 0195, 0069)


09:00 - 10:00 on Thursday, 9 September 2010 in Room 3bc


69 "Before I begin, can I ask all students to switch their mobile devices ON?"
Sian Lindsay, Nitin Parmar, Mike Cameron, Kate Reader, Ajmal Sultany


150 What is there to talk about? An analysis of microblogging between peers and tutors within a postgraduate cohort
Alex Moseley, Jo Badge, Alan Cann, Stuart Johnson


195 E-learning standards for an M-learning world – informing the development of e-learning standards for the mobile web
Geoff Stead, Geoff Martin, Frances Wade


69 "Before I begin, can I ask all students to switch their mobile devices ON?"
Sian Lindsay, Nitin Parmar, Mike Cameron, Kate Reader, Ajmal Sultany
Students today live in an ‘always connected’ culture which has been facilitated by a surge in the development and uptake of mobile technologies. As mobile technologies continue to thrive, their use in education has been placed at the fore (Johnson et al., 2009). The challenge now is to understand how mobile technologies can provide an environment that is conducive to student learning. For any mobile technology learning initiative to work and to meet the changing expectations and needs of students, it must make use of devices that they have in their pockets (Attewell et al., 2009). Providing students with institutional mobile technologies for learning can be restrictive as they are often later replaced with newer, better versions. The financial and support cost to the institution might also be a barrier to uptake. There are also practical considerations to take into account, particularly in the case of Electronic Voting Systems (EVS) where lecturers have cited the time wasted in distributing and collecting EVS handsets as a major obstacle for EVS use (Davenport, Hayes & Parmar, 2009). This is unfortunate as the pedagogical benefits of EVS have been widely demonstrated (Russell 2007, Draper 2009). This paper considers whether student mobile devices (including smartphones and laptops) can be used as voting handsets to overcome some of the practical issues of traditional EVS. This paper analyses the observations of several lectures at two universities that used EVS software, ResponseWare Web (RWW) for voting using mobile devices. Essentially, RWW enables lecturers' Microsoft PowerPoint slides with voting questions to be displayed on a website that students can access using their mobile devices. This paper analyses the interview transcripts of the students and teachers involved to identify potential learning gains. It argues whether students engage in learning within an environment which is familiar and easily to hand, and if teachers appreciate the practical convenience of such a system. We also explore how offering feedback following each question can improve the depth to which the question is examined and engaged with.


150 What is there to talk about? An analysis of microblogging between peers and tutors within a postgraduate cohort
Alex Moseley, Jo Badge, Alan Cann, Stuart Johnson
A small group of postgraduate students taking a project module in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester were issued with iPod Touch devices, and asked to post regular updates on their activity via the microblogging service Twitter. The background, technical details, and quantitative analysis of the overarching project across undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts is described in Cann, Badge, Moseley & Johnson 2009; but the postgraduate group revealed less frequent, but more focussed microblogging in the areas of project organisation, professional networking and information sharing. A qualitative analysis of the 'tweets' (presented in this paper) reveal a surprisingly developed support and shared learning network between the students; and also give rise to issues of modified/ monitored behaviour. The latter aspect was revealed in both tweets between students and the module tutor, and in informal discussions following the project. In addition to exploring these issues, the paper will describe models for the use of microblogging or similar communication technologies within focussed or professional cohorts; and suggest the efficiencies and affordances which such a communication network could provide.


195 E-learning standards for an M-learning world – informing the development of e-learning standards for the mobile web
Geoff Stead, Geoff Martin, Frances Wade
Mobile platforms are pervasive, and according to recent research have become the globally dominant ICT technology. In early 2009 there were over 4 billion active mobile phone subscriptions across the globe, and approximately 5% of the world's population had access to a mobile broadband connection (ITU 2009).In the light of this it is hardly surprising that there has been an upsurge in interest in mobile (m-) learning. At the beginning of 2010, many commentators predicted this would be the year that m-learning would become mainstream (NMC and Educause 2010, Brown 2010, Quinn 2010), and leading up to this time there have been reports from many trailblazing m-learning projects (Ally et al. 2009). It is striking that many examples of m-learning best practice have not involved VLEs or standards-based approaches. Indeed Traxler (Ally 2009, 9-24) identifies six categories of emergent m-learning, of which only one – “miniature but portable e-learning” necessarily falls into the standards-based camp. This leads inexorably to the question of whether existing e-learning standards readily transfer into m-learning scenarios. Tribal’s Digital Learning Studio (DLS) have partnered with ADL to consider this issue. Our research, running from January till the middle of 2010, will draw together examples of best practice in e- and m-learning. Approaches for each will be placed into a comparative matrix, allowing their key characteristics and differences to be identified. The results of this analysis will be used to inform our conclusions on how existing standards may be moved forward for use in m-learning. The outcomes of this work will be presented in our final paper at Alt-C 2010. Since the work is being undertaken with ADL, the application of SCORM within m-learning will be a prominent aspect of our discussion. However, we will also consider wider e-learning standards including those put forward by IMS GLC, and also the role of server-side platforms such as commonly used VLEs.