The Mobile Learning Dilemma (and a few cool tools)

Well the end of the year is fast approaching, only 7 weeks left of school for the year for me but already I’m thinking about next year. Lately Ive been stumbling across a range of mobile learning tools that are really exciting and although its not too late to trial some of them in my classes I think that my goal for next year is to get  these tools up and running. So here is a few of the things Ive found/been told about/read about, that could be useful to you.

  1. www.quillpill.com This site allows you to write stories using 140 characters at a time (very similar to twitter). The cool part about it is that you use SMS to send your information and it is then added your page. A great way to digitally collect ideas, reflections or just to micro blog on a topic.
  2. www.mobiode.comThis allows you to create polls and surveys that can be completed on a mobile phone. It supports simple “fill-in-the-blank” questions, multiple choice questions, and polls and can be distributed via SMS, mobile portals or WAP. Once people have responded you can view a breakdown of the results which could be perfect for all sorts of classroom activities. I’m thinking I’ll use it to create a unit evaluation for the subjects I’ve taught.
  3. http://www.studycell.com/ This site lets you create flash cards that can be downloaded onto a phone and used for studying. Test prep study materials, quizzes, flashcards, and short course outlines are natural fits for the technology.
  4. http://www.readthewords.com/ This site has numerous applications across heaps of areas. It lets you upload a document, webpage, RSS feed or more that is then converted to spoken word. You then have the option to download the MP3, podcast it or stream Live. Could be useful for vison impaired students, those with poor reading skills or for a different spin on an activity. Its also useful to hear how your own written work sounds.Worth a look.
  5. www.milkit.com.auThe Mobile Learning Kit “offers a new way to connect students, curriculum and everyday environments using simple web and mobile technologies”. I am currently investigating this further and looking at purchasing my own MiLK for use within my classes.

My efforts to introduce mobile learning tools in my classroom has been boosted by Stephen Heppell’s various mentions of the powers of today’s mobile phones. If you were to compare the total computer power (processing,storage etc) of a school 10 years ago with the phones of today, the phones would exceed them. So technically student’s are walking through the door with entire school’s of technology in their pockets (and the rest) and we’re confiscating them. How ridiculous are we? Now you may argue that they are more distraction than learning tool but of course kid’s are going to find ways to use them incorrectly when no one has ever showed them how to use them properly.

So whats the Mobile policy at your school? Would like to hear how school’s are dealing with this controversial issue.

Using Mobile Blogging On Camp

With thanks to a fantastic idea from Lucy Barrow. Students in my VCE Unit 2 Outdoor & Environmental Studies class will be using their mobile phones while on our next overnight camp to Halls Gap & the Grampians. They will use them to record their thoughts, make notes on human impacts, while also reflecting on the days events & activities. The information gathered during the camp will form the basis for the final assessment that will be completed on return. They will also interview a Parks Victoria ranger about how they manage the park. Students will do this by signing up for a free Utterli account and using its cross posting feature, that will automatically transfer their recorded messages to our class blog. So subscribe and keep an eye on the posts, its sure to be a very useful tool both during and post camp. 

So how could you use this? Im sure the ideas are flowing through your head….

Look forward to reading your comments.

The Powers of the Nintendo DS

 

For the past month I have been using a set of Nintendo DS systems within the Alternative Program class that I teach here at Boort Secondary College. The program is run during the normal scheduled French class and is aimed at improving the literacy and numeracy skills of the students. Each week we set time for a variety of activities including homework catchup and skill builders over a variety of subjects along with a double period working on a community or school based project. Across the course of the year the students self esteem and confidence has also improved substantially which has been fantastic.

The Nintendo DS systems have been integrated to work on their skills in a engaging and fun way. The class set that we purchased contained 4 games.

Maths Training – A game that aims to improve all aspects of basic mathematics by using fun interactive games.

Brain Training & More Brain Training – A game that mixes both literacy and numeracy to work out your Brain Age (An estimate based on your responses and times on games)

Sight Training – A game to improve all aspects of Focus ability.

The catalogue of educational games is steadily increasing and I have just made an order for the cooking game which takes people through recipes in an interactive way, which could be useful for a home eco class and those disengaged boys? So has it worked in this class? Have a listen to the Interview I conducted with the boys themselves to see what they think. What do I think? Well in a class that was almost impossible to get them to sit still to complete anything, they are now sitting through entire lessons without saying a word, completely focused on their workand their progress. Are they engaged? They sure are.

Look forward to reading your comments.

Mobile post sent by robbo64 using Utterli.  Replies.  mp3

A new bag of tricks

What a busy first week it has proven to be, but all the same its been highly enjoyable especially when trialing some new tools in my classes. So here they are….

Very simple little site that allows you to create free educational games, activities and diagrams in a flash.  Although it is hardly the most polished of perfect application, it does produce some really engaging content. It also lets you embed your creations into web pages or blogs for easy sharing and completion. Well worth a look.

 

What a fantastic little piece of software this is. A desktop application that lets you make quizzes that can be completed via an Ipod. Ive had a quick go using this in a class this week with the students creating 10 questions as a test exercise. We then uploaded it to a students Ipod and passed it around for all to complete, with the kids really enjoying the idea of mobile anytime learning. So where to from here? I plan to use the program to create a few more quizzes and eventually ask the IT technician at school to install the program on the network so students and other teachers can use it to make quizzes within classes, hopefully then we can begin to harness the endless possibilities of mobile learning. In the mean time you can check out quizzes that have been created and shared by others at http://www.iquizr.com/. Hopefully my students can begin to share some of their own quizzes at the site.

 

This I must say this is quickly becoming my favourite new tool (Thanks Nic). What it does is it lets you ask a question that can then be answered by people from all around the world. The entire process is super simple and questions can be embedded into websites, blogs etc for easy sharing. The best and most exciting aspect of this process is that when people answer your questions, their place of location is recorded and displayed on a google map. This feature allows great analysis and discussion about your questions as students can look for patterns between countries and see exactly how different people around the world think. So far I have used this to ask a question about sports coaching that the students designed during an activity in class. So have a go for yourself in answering our question below. As you can see the possibilties are endless. Check it out.

http://www.ask500people.com/questions/what-is-the-most-important-characteristic-of-a-good-coach