mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

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Project Report

I am pleased to have added the 2012 Project Report to the blog! The report is available via the MLEARN 2012 REPORT link at the top of the page. Once you’re in the report is navigable via the links in the right sidebar.

The report has taken sometime to put together as it is a detailed account of the three main components of the project – Build, Measure & Learn. The report follows the same structure. Build discusses the work done by the project, Measure details the  feedback and survey data, and Learn which is an attempt to quantify the broader experience of the project into key lessons.

The full report is available to download in full or as sections Build,Measure & Learn. The report is also available as a collections of Tweets ready to share. The report is also available on Slideshare to improve access and simplify dissemination. Please feel free to pass on and circulate the report with your peers and social networks. We would love to get any feedback so feel free to get in touch – leave a comment or find us on Twitter @csumlearn.

The report will hopefully add to the conversation and broad questions around the role of mobile technology in education and the challenges and opportunities that it brings.

On Slideshare you will also find the Project’s Guide to iPads and Mobile Devices which are a handy resource for any institution looking at finding out more about mobile technology and its implementation.


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Using mobile to create an active classroom

Mobile is the most ubiquitous technology available in the world today. More people around the globe have access to mobile than radio, TV or cars. These pocket sized computing devices open up a range of uses to engage with students, remotely and in the classroom.  A web enabled phone opens up a range of applications to engage with students and make them active participants in the classroom rather than passive consumers. There are a range of Audience Response Systems, (or Classroom or Student Response Systems) that allow students to interact and participate in a range of ways, from answering questions, providing feedbacks or generating content. Lets have a quick look of the types of software out there.

These are free options but come with some limitations and caveats around class size and data transparency:

Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. There is a limit of of 50 students that can be logged in a one time, but for many classes this will be adequate. Engage in quick multiple choice questions, exit questionnaires, quizzes, games and get feedback and reports instantaneously.

mQlicker is another free Audience Response System. It has many of the same features as Socrative but a few extras that could be quite helpful including unlimited audience size, easy participation using session key or permalink, results displayed in PowerPoint slides with live updates and can be displayed as harts: vertical bar, horizontal bar or pie charts, table of responses, interactive ‘sticky notes’ or word cloud. The user interface isn’t as simple as Socrative and seems more set up for anonymous reporting.

There is also a number of commercial software options that requires payment by the institution or student:

 Turning Technologies has developed the ‘clicker’ market and provides these and now web based data collection solutions for learning environments. The response technology can create interactive presentations but also could used to deliver assessment. It offers multiple-choice, alphanumeric, multiple response and essay question types.

Top Hat Monocle is a web-based clicker and online homework tool. Students can use any device to participate in class or for homework use. Questions can be open ended discussions and part of interactive demos or incorporated into presentation software, such as PowerPoint.

Lecture Tools, recently acquired by Echo360, is a quite expansive suite of tools you can use to engage your students. It provides the ability to present Interactive lectures, assess student performance and respond with a web browser or via SMS. Students can use the system to take notes associated with slides. Ask questions as they arise and deliver real-time feedback to instructors during class. Particiaption can work via laptop or cellphone to  or using the iPad app. This is probably the most full featured suite here and with a roadmap that includes integration with the Echo360 lecture recording system could provide a robust and expansive system for use on campus or off for truly blended and flexible study.

Finally, GoClass is a cloud enabled teaching application for tablet devices that redefines the boundaries of computing in the classroom. Connect with your student, customize and fine-tune your lesson plans on the fly, engage students in new ways and continuously evaluate their understanding while you are in class.

Had experiences with the software? Let us know how you went and what you think? Something missing? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list!

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Another List!

So I came across another list of 24 benefits of mobile learning by Marcus Boyes. To summarise:

  1. Convenience and flexibility: access anywhere, at any time – at the exact moment learning is required.
  2. Relevance: learning to be ‘situated rather than simulated’
  3. Learner control: empowers learners to take the initiative and direct their own learning activities.
  4. Good use of ‘dead time’: while travelling or waiting for a meeting to start (the bathroom also seems popular!).
  5. Fits many different learning styles: reading  video, animation, listening to podcasts, contributing to discussions, researching on the internet, rating skills on a diagnostic, etc …
  6. Improves social learning: enable interaction between peers and tutors using mobile devices.
  7. Encourages reflection: the voice recorder on many mobile devices enables effortless and instantaneous recording of thoughts and opinions..
  8. Easy evidence collection: readily available for collecting portfolio evidence via audio, still or video camera.
  9. Supported decision making: access to information, which enables the quick double-checking of a decision
  10. Speedier remediation: mobile learning enables forgotten or mistakenly remembered information to be speedily accessed and redressed.
  11. Improved learner confidence: short nuggets of learning offered on mobile devices, accessed prior to meetings or beginning tasks, improves learners’ confidence in their skills.
  12. Easily digestible learning: the small screen minimises the amount of information that can be offered to a learner at any given time.
  13. Heightened engagement: quick-fire knowledge or mobile assessments/quizzes, in keeps learning fresh and at the forefront of learners’ minds.
  14. Better planning for face-to-face sessions: quick pre-assessments via mobile devices enable trainers to determine learners’ level of knowledge and plan their sessions accordingly.
  15. Great for induction: induction on mobile devices enables learning to be contextualised to the exact spot in a workplace it makes reference to.
  16. Elimination of technological barriers: the use of a learner’s own mobile device means they are already familiar with the technology, eliminating technological barriers to accessing learning.
  17. Designed once: delivered across multiple platforms
  18. Easily trackable: mobile learning can be designed to enable tracking data to be saved and then synchronised over wireless.
  19. Cost-effective build: mobile learning is cheaper than supplying laptops and other computing devices for e-learning.
  20. A means to recoup money: students can have free access to the learning and another paid-for version to recoup costs.
  21. Direct interaction with learning: touch screens and other more direct input devices removes a layer of interactivity
  22. Big data tracking: with the integrated connection of mobiles devices to the web, it opens up the possibility of tracking everything the user does, how they use the learning, what questions they got right and even their behaviours.
  23. Context sensitive learning: with GPS and the use of QR codes learning can become specific to a location
  24. The power of personalisation: by getting the user to do the learning on their own personal device they are more likely to engage with the learning. They are also more likely to do the learning in their own time, rather than at work.

There’s a lot in common with the last list – maybe time to compile our own!

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Developing subjects for Mobile Learning

My experiences over the last few years in developing technology and content for education has led me to one specific truth. Integration is the key.

Technology, content, resources and practices are useless if they are not integrated into the learning process. Students need to see value and benefit, not more work and more time. If it’s not integrated students won’t use it, and all the time, effort and money will be for nothing. Many academics have been left pulling their hair asking why and questioning your students ability to “get it”, simply because they didn’t integrate it into the subject.

Integration doesn’t have to be big and scary – it could be integration on a much smaller scale – a single topic, task, class or assessment. My advice would be to start small, test it and build on your successes. A phased and iterative approach means that you can shape, tailor and adapt to changes and responses from your students. Integration evolves over time – it might start off as a choice or an alternative before it’s ready to become mainstream, mandatory or compulsory.

After a quick chat with David Reid in Bathurst I though I need to start collecting some information and resources about developing a subject for mobile learning.


Next Steps in Mobile Learning: a great infographic illustrating the path to mobile learning. It takes you down the path using key questions and statements to define and guide you through. Need help with the first step? Well try our next resource …

A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: This interactive diagram of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is nice display of some of the key learning objectives (is a rollover interactive?). So when thinking about mobile learning – think how can I use this to meet one of these objectives.


There are some great examples of what and how academics have already integrated mobile learning. There’s often no need to start from scratch – build on those who gave gone before you.

Abilene Christian University have been doing mobile learning for a while – probably longer than anyone else. If you’re looking for examples you need to look at their ACU Connected site. The work by their research fellows show mobile learning being applied in a huge variety of ways – and in a range of subject areas. They also have a great set of resources available (multimedia gallery, links to organisations and papers, and a list of tools)  and some really good videos too – many available on their iTunes U site.

Thom Cochrane: Thom has been working in mobile learning for quite some time and has a great wiki with pages on some of the various projects he’s been involved with. Plenty of media in there to – youtube, prezi, images. I particularly love the story of how student Lisa became an instant star on Twitter with her tweet “I Hate Technology”.


ACU have been putting the work done by their research fellows on their website. I would also take a look at their yearly reports if you want snap shots and wider student population data. I would definitely recommend reading their latest 2010-11 Report (PDF) – some great quotes from students, teachers and interesting stats!

I’m going to point to Thom Cochrane again. He’s got huge lists of references for most of his articles, so that’s another good place to start.

I’d also link to this site as well – the Learning with Mobiles article has some links to Dr Jan Herrington’s work and some other research articles and examples.

This isn’t meant as a complete list… it’s a starting point. Everyone’s experiences, needs and knowledge will be different – so choose your own path. If you find anything on your journey tell us about it – add a comment to the page. Share and pass it on!