iPad and Mobile Learning

January 27, 2010

About a gazillion people have shared their thoughts online today about the iPad. Lots of emotion about this and I’m thinking about the reasons why….   to me the range of opinions is reflecting something pretty deep about Apple’s role. Somehow I doubt that these extreme reactions would exist if any other company brought out a larger modified “phone” or a smaller modified “laptop” (I’m not saying that the iPad is either of those, but those kinds of comments are out there). Interesting. And the issues of copyright/ownership of content etc. (do I own this downloaded book or is it rented to me?) are going to take some time to resolve.

But much more interesting is that this device (and those that will follow it) takes us to a next level for mobile learning opportunities. Will educators jump on board? Are we now at the time when the old “just in case” model of education really does get replaced by an understanding that truly portable devices are now pretty full-featured and (see the CBC Spark interview link below) easy to use and blazingly fast, so learning can become “just in time, just enough, just for me“. And the important skills will be how to find, filter and use information. Not a new idea at all but still one that doesn’t seem to have permeated as much as it should. Maybe an idea that finally cannot be ignored?

So what would the education/training world look like if this great access is within reach wherever we are?

Problem solving of all types, on-the-job assistance, sharing knowledge and skills (and/or demonstrating them for “assessment” purposes) — these are just a few things that leap to my mind as potentially transformed. With this next level of connection, the changes in how we do things involving information could really be quite profound.


Are we changing the paradigm of human-computer interaction?

Jon Mott and David Wiley and CMS/PLN/OLE/PLE ideas

January 19, 2010

http://ineducation.ca/article/open-learning-cms-and-open-learning-network Mott and Wiley

http://www.jonmott.com/blog/2010/01/the-cms-and-the-pln Mott

Ideas to consider about the CMS (Course Management System) concept and the alternatives — revealing issues related to the roles of educational institutions, artificial time constraints, assessment, etc.

Is it possible that (as the Mott and Wiley article suggests) “the persistence and perpetuation of the CMS paradigm is resulting in a missed opportunity of epic proportions…. instructors and institutions are essentially making the old, content-centric paradigm more efficient, but leaving it largely unchallenged and unquestioned.”

And I can’t help but add a link to a presentation I watched online yesterday as well, from the K-12 perspective:


Scott McLeod addresses the NEA about disruptive technologies.

Wesch – (Digital) Writing on the Walls

January 12, 2010


This video is the recording of the Michael Wesch presentation this morning titled:”The (Digital) Writing on the Walls – And Why the Walls Don’t Matter Any More.”

If you haven’t seen Wesch deliver a presentation, this is a perfect introduction. It’s a good overview of his work and references the short viral YouTubes that are so familiar to many of us. As you watch this presentation you may have the “aha” moment of realizing that you’re seeing the inspirational force behind videos you’ve seen, enjoyed and even shared with others.  Today’s session gives a more indepth look Wesch’s background as he shares his own experiences in the context of many of the “greats” in media history (Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, etc.) and it would be a great resource for any of your colleagues who are ready for more clarification about web 2.0 in education.

The part of this presentation that was newest to me (and something I really want to follow up with) was the assessment question near the end where Wesch began to describe his peer review strategies. An intriguing one is called “calibrated peer review” — designed to promote critical thinking and model a strategy used in real-world evaluation of scientific proposals, among other things. Wesch has his students grade sample assignments from a library he has created in order to establish a rubric, then they grade each others work — all supported by a tracking technology — a google search found this: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI5002.pdf which seems to be very much like what was described in the session.

Session on Blended Online Learning Design

January 9, 2010

Norm Vaughan and Michael Power hosted an Elluminate session a few days ago as part of  the Canadian  Institute  of Distance Education Research (CIDER) sessions. Their topic was Blended Online Learning Design and you can access the recorded session here:


The session referenced that there are a range of models that can be considered as blended learning, with BOLD itself being completely online, incorporating some synchronous and some asynchronous components and spanning features of all the other models.

For instructors moving towards online (from traditional face to face), it seems possible that synchronous online might be the best way transition into the online environment. This might be the beginning ripple of significant change for faculty at the majority of universities in Canada and possibly also throughout the world. Lack of physical space at universities can be solved in this way and there is a lot of excitement that tools like elluminate could soon be bringing more higher education to a much wider range of students than ever before. And students are said to be keen on synchronous meetings (it was even suggested that time zones aren’t as much of an issue as might be thought because students will get up in the wee hours if a session is important to them). This is great news, but I do wonder if the novelty will eventually wear off. Or maybe the challenge will ensure that faculty keep the sessions meaningful.

For folks like me, who’ve spent years already working within the asynchronous online environment, incorporating synchronous is also an increasingly exciting option as the technology is becoming more reliable and accessible. To us, synchronous is not the bridge to online (we’re already there) but it is a way to add the dimension of reacting in real time.

I don’t want to see the boring parts of traditional face-to-face get translated into skype or elluminate, and I *do* think that there is a whole world beyond any of these models — one that incorporates the assessment of informal learning and knowledge building via web 2.0, but the CIDER session was an interesting perspective on where things are now and where they’re likely to be in the near future.

For more about CIDER: http://cider.athabascau.ca/CIDERSessions/