Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Developing a mobile learning strategy?

Mark van 't Hooft at Mobile Learning Redefined « Ubiquitous Thoughts (via Leonard) points to some work by Mike Sharples and others re-examining mobile learning; what it means, what it requires and what strategies might be employed to develop mlearning approaches further.

I was drawn to the three foci quoted below outlined by van 't Hooft :

Mike Sharples wrote a nice piece about this in October 2005, entitled "Re-thinking learning for the mobile age." In it, he discusses three foci of the Kaleidoscope special interest group on the Philosophy of Technology Enhanced Learning:
1. distinguish what is special about learning in the mobile age compared to other types of learning activity.
2. a theory of mobile learning must embrace the considerable learning that occurs outside classrooms and lecture halls.
3. we must take account of the ubiquitous use.

These appear to me to be the overarching points with which to develop mobile learning strategies for organisations, communities, schools, networks and so on. These points allow us to critique our motives, structures and approaches to learning generally and our learners - as lifelong learners - more specifically.

How many organisations have a learning strategy, let alone a mobile learning strategy? What about a flexible learning plan? Or an elearning philosophy? What type of strategic plan does your organisation have?

My view is that we need our decision makers and managers to be reading about projects like this and work by the Mike Sharples of the world, so they can make informed decisions - at a strategic level - about the learning choices provided to our learners and remain relevant to learners whose worlds are full of work, life, family and yes, learning.

....and this is fast becoming a mantra around my workplace: it is the learner who is mobile, not the technology!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Group work: why not ask your students?

This via Stephen Downes...

Konrad has been reflecting on the use of group work after some feedback from teachers, parents and students at school.

Image: Lilia Efimova

English 8, 2006-07 » Group Work: Good or Bad? In this link you can read some points about the pros and cons of group work as year 8 students explain.

Some of the points from the students that stood out for me:

  • maybe people just don?t like group work because they are not able to communicate and share their ideas with others.
  • there is another type when you have to make sure that you have done something and try and trick others into showing that you have actually done something.
  • if people are trained to put their brains together, to give different ideas, then a project could almost always go further.
  • Group work will help people to cooperate with people you don?t like and it is very important because even when you go to work when you are old, you will still be doing group work all the time.
  • My conclusion is not that group work is better than Individual work, but group work can teach students which can?t be taught by always working individually. i also agree on how Konrad Glogowski said about group works making the class noisy and de-concentrated.

Well-considered points don't you think? And these are just a few!

How do your students find group work? What dynamics stand out for you as a teacher or as a learner?

All this reminds me that we need to remain critically aware of the strategies we employ in our teaching and learning and not take things for granted - one size doesn't fit all!

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Student voices: dealing with real issues

Reality Check - information on youth mental health

Here's a step in the right direction. Students helping themselves help each other. Found this in the weekend Canberra Times (25/11/2006, News p.13).

Students have helped develop a website exploring and exposing the ins and outs of body image.

Karin MacDonald, Brindbella MLA helped launch the website recently, along with editor of Lip Magazine, Rachel Funari.

"Media Check encourages youth to resist media hype by creating and publishing your own media messages relating to mental health and well being"

Just another positive of the read/write web wouldn't you think?

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Movember - all for men's health

Ummm, What is Movember???

mov title image

At the start of N(M)ovember guys register with a clean shaven face. The Movember participants known as Mo Bros then have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache and along the way raise as much money and awareness about male health issues as possible.

Our FLS team are going to participate, starting with Col (onya Col!) - you can check out his mo log (blog) and if you feel the urge to sponsor ($$$) him for his mo-tastic efforts during the month of November, then please do!

Ladies, you can also participate - mo sistas are welcome and can raise awareness of mens health issues too! :o)

From the Movember site, here are the key men's health issues for Movember 2006:

Prostate Cancer in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia ( because every year in Australia 2,700 men die of prostate cancer - more than the number of women who die from breast cancer.

Male Depression in partnership with Beyond Blue ( because one in six men suffer from depression at any given time but most don't seek help.

Testicular Cancer because it?s the second most common cancer in young men aged 18 to 35.

So, here's a new (follicle) challenge for you... If you feel the urge, join up yourself and invite your own sponsors for this great initiative!

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