I have been exploring different ways of making learning more mobiIe. We want to take learning to exciting authentic places in the real world. The gopro video cameras capture high resultion video footage of high speed activities. I recently presented at the fabulous Createworld Conference in Brisbane. At this conference the focus is on sharing how you are using technology to stimulate creativity. A interesting use of mobile technologies was an inspirational performance by Beau entitled “Sliver surfer”. Beau set up a simulation with a silver tarp and a surfboard on wheels. The surfboard was fitted with a “Gopro” and a small projector connected to an iPhone. On the iPhone were video Images of waves which were projected on to a silver tarp. The tarp was used to form the tube of a wave. The “surfer” then surfed through the tube on the surf board with wheels.
The Gopro captured the experience of the surfing simulation. The video could be uploaded to an iPad for on the spot editing in iMovie and shared on Vimeo. This raises the possibility of capturing high quality video of simulation and authentic experiences an exciting combination of science, technology and visual arts.
One of the ways to create interactive online experiences is to use a learning management system (LMS). This is much easier than you think and is a great way to use mobile learning devices in daily classroom practice. These systems now incorporate social networking so students can create and share their learning as part of professional learning networks. There are a range of these, today I am discussing two free LMS systems designed for classroom use. Edmodo and Schoology. I am seeing excellent use of these systems in classrooms. Teachers can post tasks and assessments online in the password protected space they have created for their students. They can give parents access to sections of the site so parents can view the work. Students can access this work anywhere, anytime on a web enabled device. There are apps for Android and IOS devices like iphones and iPads. Students can post their responses to their teacher and work collaboratively with their peers. The facility to set up groups is very useful. The student work is all safely stored online, no need for complex server configurations.
I am enjoying my visit to a new school in Perth.This school has embraced the use of technology to transform teaching and learning from day one. The design of the school encourages collaborative learning with glass walled classrooms and communal learning spaces. The timetable has been designed to allow space and time for students to engage in deep learning. Students have longer blocks of time to work on cross curricular projects exploring “Big Ideas” using an inquiry based approach.
Mobile touch tablets are used as the base technology. This was introduced to the community through information sessions with parents and students. This school has recommended that schools work with parents to set up individual iTunes accounts managed by the parents. Students agree to a digital use policy.
Posters and e-pubs were used to distribute information on policy and use within the school. The school created resources to guide parents, and these resources contain everything parents need to know about using the device at school and at home.
The school gave instructions on how students need to set up the device to promote learning. Specific instructions were given to students on how to set their up the pages on each screen and a number of essential apps were recommended. These were arranged in folders according to learning areas and function.
Digital learning spaces have been created using Edmodo, a free online learning space which presents in format like Facebook, but is specifically designed for teaching and learning. This is safe and is password protected. The teacher has control over what is posted. All students in the class can share resources and post their work.
Students use the devices to create visual collections to display their learning in a visual way. Skype and FaceTime are used to link the class to community experts and to students in other classes. This way of learning uses technology to transform traditional learning experiences, extending the learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.
iPads are essentially designed for individual use, yet in classrooms we often need to show and share the learning processes.
Traditionally we use interactive whiteboards where a computer is linked via a cable to a large touch screen attached to the classroom wall. This allows the computer technology with digital content to be projected and shared. This can create a didactic situation where the teacher has to be in a position close to the front of the classroom to operate the Interactive whiteboard, and not circulating in the classroom engaging with the students and monitoring their work.
Apple TV is a small device costing approximately $100 that allows the teacher and the students to connect their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch wirelessly to a TV screen or a data projector to show their screen and share their work with the class.
This article includes an overview of the TPACK iPads in Schools project and the growing trend towards Mobile Learning ( M- Learning).
Our classrooms are changing as learning becomes more mobile. The introduction of mobile devices changes the classroom dynamics. Students no longer need to sit in rows in hard wooden desks facing the board. Learning can occur in small learning groups or pods. Students can sit on comfortable cushions and couches as they work and collaborate with their peers. They can learn outside the classroom. Learning can occur anytime and anyplace, the traditional classroom can be redesigned as a 21st Century learning centre.
This move to Mobile learning creates a new role for school libraries as they become more than the custodian of books. The school libraries of the future will be “information hubs” with “techno- pods” and comfortable areas for collaboration. They will become a third space where students can learn, collaborate and socialise in bright inviting surrounding. A school I visited recently is planning to introduce a munching area with ” Milo and Muffins” in the library to encourage students to visit the library and continue their learning after school hours.