mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project


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New toys for mLearn

Hello, my name is Tyswan, and I’m one of the new Graphic and User Interface designers on the project. In the coming months I’ll be doing some work on ePub formats, student instructional materials and supporting the Bathurst device trials. You can read all about me on the Team page.

Let me start off by saying that I didn’t accept this job because of all the cool iOS and mac toys I’d get to play with… but I’m definitely not complaining!

With the device trials starting up at the beginning of the session I have had 21 shiny wifi iPads and cases land on my desk, along with a very slick macbook air. I have already set up three of the iPads, and lent two of them out to the academics in the School of Education who will be running the Bathurst device trials. Another 63 iPads with cases have arrived in Wagga.

new macbook air and iPadI probably shouldn’t admit how much of a learning curve it’s been for me as I have never owned an iPad (and have only just bought an iPhone), and I’ve had to quickly become familiar with wireless settings, synching with iTunes, storing documents in the cloud and the plethora of apps out there, not to mention writing with my finger.

Fortunately my experiences mirror many of the issues that the students involved in the trial will face as they get used to a (possibly) new way of working in a predominately electronic space.

The next step is to look at how the iPads will be used in the specific courses. Here at Bathurst, we are currently now assessing a range of apps that will be used in a multi-modal writing course.

I’ve learnt very quickly that although there are plenty of apps out there, each is designed with a slightly different focus, and the real work is looking at integration of the apps, and designing how they will work together to meet the teaching needs of the lecturers, rather than a straight out comparison of features.

I love the lateral thinking that is required to see what the lecturers are trying to achieve and then finding the software, apps and processes that can help them to make the learning experience as fun and seamless as possible. And if playing with a shiny new iPad all day is part of my job, then so much the better!

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ACU research sheds light on mobility in teaching & learning

Some really interesting research has been released from Abilene Christian University on mobile learning. They have a 1:1 ratio of mobile devices for staff and students and ran a trial with iPads over the last year with some interesting results:

  • students who used an iPad to annotate text performed at a rate 25 percent higher on questions regarding transfer of information than their counterparts who used only paper.
  • a 95% satisfaction rate using the iPad to accomplish their online coursework, citing convenience and the device’s range of features
  • 86% of students reported improved student-to-student and student-to-teacher collaboration when using mobile devices
  • 84% of ACU’s faculty reported using their devices frequently in class to facilitate enhanced classroom collaboration. 50% of ACU faculty reported using their mobile devices during every class period.
I had the pleasure of being able to meet with most of the people mentioned here who shared with me some of their preliminary data back in April. They were really excited about their findings back then, and I think you can see why!