Monday, November 30, 2009

Preview > 2010 Horizon Report > Mobile Computing

Mobile Computing > Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less

The mobile market today has nearly 4 billion subscribers, three-fourths of whom live in developing countries. Over a billion new phones are produced each year, and the fastest-growing sales segment belongs to smart phones — which means that a massive and increasing number of people all over the world now own and use a computer that fits in their hand. Third-party applications for all kinds of tasks can now be developed once and ported to a variety of mobile platforms, increasing their availability.

It is these applications that are making mobiles such an indispensable part of our lives. Tools for study, productivity, task management, and more have become integrated into a single device that we grab along with car keys and wallet. More and more, online applications have a mobile counterpart; Blackboard's mobile app, for instance, gives students access to their course materials, discussions, assignments, and grades. Other mobile and handheld devices, such as netbooks, smartbooks, ebook readers, and email readers are also commonly carried. It is easier than ever before to remain connected anytime and anywhere.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression

> Tablet PCs—small, portable computers that fall in size and function between smart phones and laptops—are used to record and analyze field research during Bluegrass Community & Technical College's off-campus chemistry labs.

> In addition to the free lectures offered on iTunes, many universities are making courses available for mobile delivery.

> Medical students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine use their smart phones to check H1N1 updates from the Center for Disease Control.


> Following the lead of Japan's Fukuoka-based Cyber University, several colleges in the United States are now offering full, media-rich courses delivered via smart phone:


> Researchers at the University of Utah have created a mobile application that features a cadaver in various stages of dissection, allowing undergraduate students (who would not otherwise have access) to study real-life anatomy


> CourseSmart, a new mobile application, offers over 7000 e-textbooks; each is fully searchable and available via mobile or online


For Further Reading

Teaching with Technology Face-Off: iPhones vs. PC's


Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 25 February 2009

One professor foundthat students with access to an iPhone studied more than those who used only a PC.

> World's largest open university goes mobile


Press release,, 29 October 2009

The Indira Gandhi National Open University, in partnership with Ericsson, will now offer courses on mobile phones. The classes will reach over 2.5 million students and allow learners in rural India to seek a higher education.



!!! Thanks To Roy Tennant / OCLC / For The HeadsUp !!!

MLC Keynote > "M Is For Mobile - Information Services In The iPhone Age" > May 20 2010

Michigan Library Consortium > Special Program > May 20 2010 >  Lansing Community College - West Campus > Lansing Michigan

The Ever Changing User: Mobile Devices and Beyond

This one-day special program on the ever changing user will discuss the utilization of mobile devices in libraries as well as the needs of library patrons.

Our featured keynote is Gerry McKiernan from the Iowa State University Library who will present "M is for Mobile - Information Services in the iPhone Age".

Gerry's presentation will be followed by a presentation of Ann Arbor District Library's use of mobile technology from Eli Neiburger.

The program will also feature presentations on working with and providing services to library users.


Since the launch of the Horizon Project in March 2002, the New Media Consortium (NMC) has had a series of discussions with hundreds of technology professionals, campus technologists, college and university faculty leaders, as well as representatives from leading corporations. Each year an advisory board considers these conversations and reviews a range of relevant published and unpublished research literature and web resources in order to identify the technologies, trends, challenges, and issues of current interest to these communities. Issued since 2004, its annual Horizon Report has profiled select emerging technologies and practices that the board believes will enter mainstream use in learning-focused organizations over the next one to five years.

For several years, the adoption and use of mobile devices have been featured in the Horizon Report. As the 2009 report notes:

“The rapid pace of innovation continues to increase the potential of the mobile phone, challenging our ideas of how they should be used and presenting additional options with each new generation of mobiles. New capabilities in terms of hardware and software are turning such devices into indispensable tools. Third-party applications, now available on an increasing number of models, [have] expand[ed] their utility even further.The idea of a single portable device that can make phone calls, take pictures, record audio and video, store data, music, and movies, and interact with the Internet — all of it — has become interwoven into our lifestyles.”

Mobile, handheld, and related applications and technologies are prominent themes within the Horizon Report 2010 Wiki, a collaborative environment in which current advisory board members have an opportunity to present, review, and discuss candidate topics and supporting documentation and case studies for inclusion in the 2010 report, scheduled for release in January 2010.

In December 2008, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released The Future of the Internet III, the third in a series of surveys of Internet leaders, activists and analysts that elicited their views on emerging Net and Web developments. In this most recent review, an overwhelming majority of experts predicted that by 2020 the mobile device will become the primary connection tool to the Internet for most individuals worldwide. In mid-2009, the Project released Wireless Internet Use, a report of an April 2009 survey on the use of wireless-enabled devices for accessing the Internet. The study reported that nearly one-third (32%) of Americans checked their email, accessed the Internet for information, or sent instant messages using a cell phone or other handheld device, and that nearly forty percent (39%) used a laptop computer to do so. Overall, more than half (56%) of the American public used a wireless device to access the Net.

In February 2009, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) issued results of an ‘environmental scan’, which sought to identify trends that were likely to affect its work as a professional organization, and that of research libraries, in the near future. Based on the results of this review, the association expects that in the coming decade, research libraries will “increasingly deploy services and resources into virtual environments inhabited by students, faculty, and researchers.” Its report, Transformational Times: An Environmental Scan Prepared for the ARL Strategic Plan Review Task Force, the organization predicts that “the ubiquitous presence of WiFi, handheld communication devices, smart phones, etc. will spur libraries to re-tool content for mobile users and mobile devices.”

In October 2009, the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) released its most recent ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology. Published since 2004, this report of an annual survey “has sought to shed light on how information technology affects the college experience [… by asking] students about the technology they own and how they use it in and out of their academic world.” A special focus of the 2009 survey was student ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices. According to the most recent survey report, 51% of surveyed undergraduates owned an Internet-capable handheld device and 12% more planed to purchase one within a year. Overall, cell phone ownership was nearly ubiquitous and texting was nearing saturation.

The recognition by an increasing number of libraries and information providers on the widespread adoption of handheld devices by students, faculty, and the general public, has led an increasing number to develop a range of mobile-oriented information services for these communities.

In this presentation, we will review the mobile phenomenon and profile a wide array of initiatives and projects that offer anytime/ anywhere access to a variety of information services and sources. In particular, we will focus on abstracts and indexes; collections; information literacy; interlibrary loan; news; online public access catalogs; and reference and research services. We will conclude with a review of current and potential challenges and opportunities that librarians and libraries face in the ever-expanding mobile environment.

Registration Fees

MLC Members [Includes Lunch] > $ 99.00

Non-Members [Includes :Lunch] > $ 160.00



!!! I Am Most Grateful To The Michigan Library Consortium And Heather M. Thomas, MLC Training Coordinator,  For Their Kind Invitation !!!

PPT Slides (200) Now Available At

If Your Conference Or Organization Is Interested In A Mobile Libraries Presentation, Please Contact Me ;  I Am More Than Willing To Tailor A Presentation To The Particular Interests Of Potential Attendees.

If You Are Not Able To Attend The MLC Presentation _And/Or_ Organize Your Own Mobile Libraries Program Here In The USA, Perhaps You May Be Interested In Attending One Of My Three International Presentations In April/May 2010 (TBA) _And/Or_ Perhaps My Overseas Colleagues May Be Interested In Organizing One For His/Her Institution _And/Or_ Professional Association.

BTW-1 > While An Honorarium Is Always Welcome, I Ask That As A Minimum That My Direct Expenses Be Covered (Travel, Accommodations, Food, Etc.).

BCR Partners with Mosio to Bring Text a Librarian Service to Member Libraries

BCR News Release / For Immediate Release / Contact: Brandie Baumann – or 303.751.6277 ext. 110

November 30, 2009

AURORA, COLO. — BCR is partnering with Mosio, Inc., to bring its Text a Librarian service to BCR member libraries. Using mobile phone technology, patrons can text questions to reference services from their mobile phones and librarians can type answers on a web-based interface.

Text a Librarian’s feature-rich mobile messaging system is a comprehensive, web-based interface (called a “Microboard”) that is easy to implement and use. Accessible by more than 260 million U.S mobile phones, librarians can log on and service patrons on any computer or mobile device with Internet access.

“BCR is pleased to be able to offer this new technology to our member libraries,” said Brenda Bailey-Hainer, BCR President and CEO. “With its ease of use and competitive pricing, Text a Librarian will allow libraries to provide the services patrons want at a cost that is affordable.”

“We are really excited to see so many libraries embracing text messaging as the new way to communicate easily and efficiently with their patrons. Our partnership with BCR only makes it easier for libraries to implement Text a Librarian,” said Gabe Macias, VP of Sales and Marketing at Mosio.

About Mosio

Mosio is a mobile technologies company providing messaging and mobile web solutions for businesses and organizations. We help our clients connect with customers on-the-go, using their mobile presence as a competitive advantage to increase sales and brand loyalty, both on and offline.

About BCR

BCR brings libraries together for greater success by expanding their knowledge, reach and power. They offer a broad range of solutions and their hands-on, personal attention to each member enables them to deliver effective and timely solutions that help libraries keep pace with new developments in technology and services. BCR is the nation’s oldest and most established multistate library cooperative. Since 1935, the BCR team has helped libraries learn new skills, reach patrons, increase productivity and save money. BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit headquartered in Aurora, Colorado. For more information, visit or email


!!! Thanks To Brandie Baumann / BCR / LITA-L / For The HeadsUp !!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Book > Mobile Learning In Higher Education

Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry (editors), New Technologies, New Pedagogies: Mobile Learning In Higher Education, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, 2009, 138 p. ISBN: 978-1-74128-169-9


While mobile technologies such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and digital music players (mp3 players) have permeated popular culture, they have not found widespread acceptance as pedagogical tools in higher education.

The purpose of this e-book is to explore the use of mobile devices in learning in higher education, and to provide examples of good pedagogy. We are sure that the rich variety of examples of mobile learning found in this book will provide the reader with the inspiration to teach their own subjects and courses in ways that employ mobile devices in authentic and creative ways. This book is made up of a collection of double blind peer-reviewed chapters written by participants in the project New technologies, new pedagogies: Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning.

The book begins with an introductory chapter that describes the overall project, its aims and methods. The second chapter describes the professional development process that was used for the teacher participants involved in the project. This is followed by 10 chapters, each describing a mobile learning pedagogy that was employed in the context of a subject area within a Faculty of Education. The final chapter presents guidelines or design principles for the use of mobile learning in higher education learning environments.

We wish to acknowledge the support provided for the project on which this book is based by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. This research was also funded by generous support from the Office of Teaching and Learning at the University of Wollongong. Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney & Brian Ferry, April 2009

Table of Contents

1 - Introduction: Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning /  Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry

2 - Professional development: Faculty development for new technologies: Putting mobile learning in the hands of the teachers / Geraldine Lefoe, Ian Olney, Rob Wright and Anthony Herrington

3 - Adult education: Using a smartphone to create digital teaching episodes as resources in adult education /  Anthony Herrington

4 - Early childhood education: Digital story telling using iPods / Ian Olney, Jan Herrington and Irina Verenikina

5 - Environmental education: Using mobile phones to enhance teacher learning in environmental education / Brian Ferry

6 - Information technology education: Incorporating mobile technologies within constructivist-based curriculum resources / Anthony Herrington

7 - Language and literacy education: Using iPods to capture professional dialogue between early career teachers to enrich reflective practice /  Jessica Mantei and Lisa Kervin

8 - Mathematics education: Role of mobile digital technology in fostering the construction of pedagogical and content knowledge of mathematics / Mohan Chinnappan

9 - Physical education: Using iPods to enhance the teaching of games in physical education / Greg Forrest

10 - Reflective practice: Collaborative gathering, evaluating and communicating ‘wisdom’ using iPods / Lisa Kervin and Jessica Mantei

11 - Science education: Using mobile phone cameras to capture images for slowmations: Student-generated science animations / Garry Hoban

12 - Visual arts education: Art on the move: Mobility – a way of life / Ian Brown

13 - Design principles: Design principles for mobile learning / Anthony Herrington, Jan Herrington and Jessica Mantei

Full Text OF Entire Book And Individual Chapters Available At


!!! Thanks To / M-learning EOI en Onda Madrid  / For The HeadsUp !!!

A Team Approach To Student Support In Twitter > Together Everyone Achieves More

Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz ; Laura Grant ;  Phillip Johnson / New Mexico State University  / Division of Student Success

Benefits Of A Team Approach

•Sustainable when a member leaves or goes on vacation
•Provides a checks & balances system for decision making
•Offers diversity in voice
•Distributes the work load
•Leverages institutional knowledge within the network
•Models an approach for other institutional personae

What We've Learned

•An institutional Twitter channel for student support can be high stakes.
•A single perspective is not enough. Twitter experience alone is not enough. A student's perspective alone or even a staff member perspective alone is not enough.
•People will be interested - be prepared to share your work with the community. Opportunities to get sincere feedback may be rare.
•An institutional support framework is already in place; a team's goal is not to reinvent that, but rather to to open up another access point to that framework.
•Engagement takes different forms; some are more challenging to facilitate than others.

What We Think We Know ... About Our Work

•Experience of team members has been important for us. Consider not only the depth of Twitter adoption and engagement of potential team members, but also their approaches to customer service.
•To a point that it makes sense, define the roles of your team members. We chose Student Contributers, Staff Contributers and Staff Responders. Keep participation optional.
•Invite critique - seek it out if you must - in order to balance your perspective.
•Foster a network of support - create opportunities (some ideas below) to engage your community.
•A team approach to student support is a moving target - by definition you can't prepare for the unexpected. So know that there are things you don't know and you can't know; be aware.

Artifacts From The Team

•Why is NMSU on Twitter? This blog post on our internal blogging community was an initial effort to establish outcomes and parameters for our use of Twitter for student support.
•@nmsu Follower Survey We spent a lot of time figuring out how we could get feedback from our followers. Here's a link to the survey which we have linked to @nmsu's Twitter landing page.
•@nmsu Twitter Landing Page As our ideas about what we were doing evolved, this page was developed to communicate to potential followers who we were and what we were doing.
•NMSU Twitter Camp Wiki Twitter Camps are offered in both public and workshop settings to those who may be interested in learning about how to use Twitter as a professional and personal learning tool. Our planning notes are kind of interesting too, you can see what kind of discussions went into this effort.
•Think Tank Planning Doc We used Think Tank events as a way of developing a conversation with administration and leadership about the @nmsu presence, seeking out folks who may not have the time or inclination to be present themselves on Twitter.
•Tech Day 09 Twitter Scavenger Hunt An example of how we experimented with the use of a hashtag to encourage students to identify and share important campus resources.


[ ]





!!! Thanks To / HollyRae Bemis-Schurtz / New Mexico State University / For The HeadsUp !!!

TCC 2010 > Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow: Communication, Collaboration, Communities, Mobility and Best Choices

 Pre-Conference Dates: April 7-8, 2010

TCC 2010 invites faculty, support staff, librarians, counselors, student affairs professionals, students, administrators, and educational consultants to submit proposals for papers and general sessions.


Since the first Technology, Colleges, and Community (TCC) Online Conference, the Internet has evolved into a global workspace for communication, collaboration, sharing and community while providing forums for different voices, cultures, new challenges, and creativity. People, technologies, and perspectives have converged on a single platform.

The Internet has changed the education profession. Many questions have risen and are yet to be answered: How do faculty, staff, students and the communities they serve communicate, collaborate, innovate and produce useful learning outcomes? What best practices have emerged in online learning? How do we efficiently assess student outcomes? Which tools are most effective? How do we keep up and support our colleagues?

College students place high priority on using mobile smart phones and engaging online social communities daily. What can we learn from our students? How do we build on our students' expertise in digital media, personal publishing, and social networking? How will mobile devices be adapted for learning? What changes have occurred with intercultural understanding, diversity, and accessibility?

Smart institutions know how to engage continuing and prospective students online, even before their initial visits. How do organizations effectively adapt open source technologies and open content resources? How can organizations manage the blurring of play and work? What is the institutional affect of virtual worlds such as Second Life or the use of mobile technologies?


TCC invites papers and general sessions on the continuing progress of distance learning, virtual communities, collaborative learning, social networking, and best choices for instructional technologies. The coordinators are interested in a broad range of submissions that include but are not limited to the following:

- Retrospectives and personal experiences with the evolution of learning technologies
- Perspectives and applications of Web 2.0 tools for teaching and learning
- Technology applications that facilitate communication, collaboration, sharing, and social networking
- Building and sustaining learning communities
- Instructional applications in virtual worlds (Second Life, etc.)
- Distance learning including mobile learning
- Ubiquitous and lifelong learning
- Open content and open source
- E-portfolios and other assessment tools
- Student orientation and preparation
- Student success and assessment strategies in online learning
- Student services online (tutoring, advising, mentoring, career planning, technology support, help desk, etc.)
- Online learning resources (library, learning centers, etc.)
- Online, hybrid, blended or other modes of technology enhanced learning
- Professional development for faculty and staff
- Accessibility for seniors and persons with disabilities
- Gender equity, digital divide, intercultural understanding, and open access
- Managing information technology and change in educational institutions
- Institutional planning and pedagogy catalyzed by technology advances
- Global learning, ubiquitous learning, and intercultural communication
- Educational technology around the world


This conference accepts proposals in two formats: papers and general sessions. Submissions will be accepted online.

Submission Details


Proposal Submission


Papers must be submitted in full before the deadline and is subject to a blind peer review. Accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings.

General sessions may be conducted in one of several forms including forums, discussion, roundtable, panels, and pre-conference activity. These proposals will also be subject to a blind peer review.

Acceptances for all submittals will be conveyed to the primary author or presenter by email.

The coordinators are especially interested in receiving proposals that involve student collaborators. Fees for student presenters will be waived.

The submission deadline is January 15, 2010.



EQ > "Where Do You Learn?": Tweeting To Inform Learning Space Development

By Elizabeth J. Aspden and Louise P. Thorpe

EDUCAUSE Quarterly (EQ) » EQ Archives » EQ Volume 32 (2009) » Volume 32, Number 1, 2009 »

Key Takeaways >

Emerging technologies and applications can extend traditional approaches to data generation and can be used effectively in institutional planning.

Having participants provide real-time information offers valuable behavioral insights in context, rather than relying on information recall.

Using a method where data is shared and emerging — as opposed to controlled and presented summatively — enables informed decisions about ongoing projects and developments.

Learning environment development has been a key part of the Academic Innovation Team’s remit for a number of years at Sheffield Hallam University (UK) ... . Beginning with our research into the impact of e-learning on the student experience in 2002 — and recognizing the way e-learning influenced students’ views of physical spaces — we started to look more closely at the ways in which our students and faculty use on-campus spaces, and at ways in which our environments needed to evolve. A recurring theme that emerged was the importance of serendipitous meetings and the ad hoc use of those "in between" times: in between taught sessions, in between focused study, in between study and home.

Student Use of Informal Spaces

By 2007–8 a particular focus of ours was students’ use of informal learning spaces. We set out to develop an understanding of different patterns of informal learning and to examine how we can support these through effective provision of space, resources, and integrated online and face-to-face activities.


For the purposes of our work, we chose to define informal learning as:

The activities that take place in students’ self-directed and independent learning time, where the learning is taking place to support a formal program of study, but outside the formally planned and tutor-directed activities.

Tweet, Tweet: What Are You Doing?

In early 2008 we were looking for an innovative data-generation method to support our work.[snip]

At the time, one of the authors was using Twitter as part of an established and active network; the other had just started experimenting with it and was on the verge of abandoning it. After all, there’s a limit to the number of times you can update (or tweet) "sat at my desk…" to an audience of people in the same office and still believe that there’s a point! It was registering her phone to enable short message service (SMS) updates on the go that convinced her to think about the possibility of harnessing this succinct, mobile, always on technology as a sort of micro-diary. What if we could take Twitter’s "What are you doing?" prompt and instead ask "Where are you learning?" Could we get students to send tweets that would offer insights into their learning patterns, activities, and environmental triggers?

We recruited 15 students to take part in a two-week study. During this time ...  we asked each participant to:

Register for a Twitter account and tweet an average of three times per day about their learning activities and the spaces they were using;

•Provide three longer summaries per week offering additional information on points of interest selected by us (for example, "You mention working in x location — what is it about this space that works for you?"); and

Take part in a final reflective interview at the end of the fortnight.

Only one participant had used Twitter before, but with a five-minute introduction to the application, all the students managed to use it successfully and easily. Most chose to register their phones to allow SMS tweets and used a combination of PC- and phone-based updates. Using a dedicated project account (@learningspaces), we were able to track and collate the tweets of our participants.

[snip] ... [T]hose students who expressed an interest in participating mentioned specific benefits as contributing to their willingness to take part:

•Benefits for themselves: "Taking part would encourage me to open my eyes more of what I do day to day to learn!"

Benefits for their programs of study: "I feel that it would benefit me within my field of study."

•Benefits for on-campus spaces: "Me and my friends are always complaining about where we can study, so this could improve the spaces available to us."


Benefits of Twitter for Data Collection

The benefits of using Twitter over more traditional diary-based data includes the ability for participants to update anytime, almost anywhere, and through a variety of devices that are integral to their lives (cell phones, laptops, desktop PCs). [snip]

•Their environment: "I’m in collegiate learning centre doing group work in the main part downstairs! It’s quite distracting and it’s really hot in here!"

The resources they are using: "In Adsetts quiet area revising. Just books, not computer."

•The sorts of activities they are involved with: "Tuesday evening, muddled study at home, cooking, sorting out car to menders, family, laptop runs in conservatory and gets picked at."

The limited length of tweets — 140 characters — meant that updates were concise and focused on the key question. This also encouraged participants to be selective in capturing the most significant aspects to share.

The use of Twitter as the collection tool contributed an additional dimension to the diary-based data by making the data visible to the community in real time. [snip]

Using an emergent technology based on community and sharing to gather research data also changed the nature of the relationship between the participants, the researcher, and the wider community. [snip]

On occasion, the participants and researcher used the direct-message facility on Twitter to send private communications, although most of the time e-mail was used as a back channel for queries, instructions, or follow-up requests.[snip]

As Twitter use becomes more embedded in everyday life  ... , some interesting conversational models are emerging. Consequently, we expect that researchers and participants alike would feel more comfortable using Twitter in this way than we did in early 2008.

Stories to Help Decision Making

To aid longer term planning and decision making, we created a set of 10 personal stories based on the data collected from the individuals involved in the study.

To view Angela’s story, Billy’s story, and all the rest, see:


We are using these stories internally to initiate and frame dialogue with key decision makers, drawing upon students’ rich personal experiences to inform the facilities, services, and opportunities we offer to learners. The @learningspaces account is continuing its life as an alternative communications channel.

Twitter proved to be a valuable tool for data generation, particularly when combined with the slightly longer summaries. To further enrich the data, it would be interesting to look at using the text-based information with photos ... .

Using Web 2.0 for Evaluation on Your Campus?

For institutions considering using Twitter or other Web 2.0 applications for evaluation, we recommend thinking through the following issues:

1. Would my institution accept data generated using Web 2.0 applications (Twitter, Flickr) as valid or useful? What barriers to acceptance might there be? What steps might I need to take to encourage acceptance?

2. How many participants would I need? What kind of support might they need? What criteria might I use to select participants? How might I encourage participation? How long would the study last?

3. Could I use Twitter to generate data about institutional priorities other than learning spaces? Could I encourage the use of related applications (Twitpics, Snaptweet) to enrich the data set? How might I share emerging findings within my own institution?

As for our experience — overall, Twitter exceeded our expectations for this work. Although the depth and style of our participants’ tweets varied greatly, most offered us much more than we had hoped for by providing lighthearted but insightful information about how their university, home, and social lives blended together. [snip]


Authors >

Elizabeth J. Aspden ( is a Senior Lecturer, Curriculum Innovation (Learning Environments), Learning and Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University.

Louise P. Thorpe ( is Head of Academic Innovation, Learning and Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University.

© 2009 Elizabeth J. Aspden and Louise P. Thorpe. The text of this article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 license.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twittering > The Student Experience

Twittering > The Student Experience

Association For Learning Technology / Issue 17 / October 2009

Alan Cann (Department of Biology)  / Jo Badge  (School of Biological Sciences) / Stuart Johnson (Student Development)  / Alex Moseley (Course Design and Development Unit)
University of Leicester, UK


[snip] Twitter is a powerful personal research tool, populated by carefully selected individuals whom we have chosen to 'follow' for their knowledge and insight. [snip] Unlike a Google search, which will only suggest links related to the terms searched, a question posted via Twitter usually yields a range of replies, from shortened URLs containing answers to the question to more intelligent responses. For example, when Professor Martin Weller asked on Twitter

"What are the key components of a viral idea?",

he received a wide range of replies ... . Similarly, a tweeted remark I made during a seminar on creativity turned into an online discussion on the subject  ... . [snip]

While the largest age group on Twitter is the 35-49 range ... . the service is rapidly growing in popularity among younger users. The most recent data ... suggests that 65% of Twitter users are under the age of 25 ... [snip] . One year ago, a Twitter search for 'University of Leicester' revealed little of interest. More recent searches reveal a growing volume of conversation between existing students, often across institutional boundaries, and also from prospective students, commenting on perceptions of the University and Higher Education (HE)in general.


Based on our personal experience of Twitter, we were interested in examining what use students would make of the service and to what extent it could be used as a support channel. In the summer of 2008 we were awarded 10 iPod Touch devices through the JISC TechDis HEAT3 scheme ...  to evaluate their potential as low-cost mobile gateways to microblogging services. The iPod Touch was chosen for its superior accessibility over other mobile devices (such as regular mobile phones), ease of use, multi-mode nature, wifi capabilities, and for its attraction as a device to students (helping to encourage participation in the project).

We selected Twitter as the sector-leading microblogging service. The benefits of using Twitter for data collection have previously been described ... .These authors found that Twitter could provide light-hearted but insightful information about how students' university, home, and social lives blend together. There are many free Twitter clients available for the iPodTouch; the service is also available via a simple web page and via mobile phones through SMS.

Study participants were campus-based first year undergraduate students in the School of Biological Sciences, all 18-19 years old, who were participating in their first semester of higher education. [snip]

Participants were provided with an iPod Touch, although they were free to 'tweet' via other devices. To incentivise recruitment, several students were selected at random to keep one of the iPod Touches at the end of the project. Participating students were required to tweet at least four times per day, ... .They were also encouraged to label their tweets with a unique 'hashtag'  ... . Participants were enthusiastic about using the devices and were rigorous about using hashtags in their messages.

This provided a powerful means of tracking a stream of information for later analysis. The hashtags were easily tracked using RSS ... . Tagged messages were collated and archived via the RSS feed from the hashtag using an RSS aggregator (Google Reader), since Twitter content does not remain on the system indefinitely. Tweetstats ...  was used to further analyse the number of messages per day, Twitter clients used, and the percentage of @tweets (i.e. replies to other Twitter users). A measure of the student networks was made by counting the number of followers and following accounts listed on their profile pages. The evidence collected online was supported with a short online survey that asked the participants about their previous experience of Twitter and their impressions of using it on this project.



All of the study participants were new to Twitter and had not previously used it or any similar microblogging service. We provided the participants with online training materials about Twitter and the iPod Touch via a project wiki ( but the iPod Touch devices proved to be very intuitive and very little instruction was needed beyond the initial face-to-face set up meeting.


Table 1: Analysis of Twitter use by participants.

All of the participants used multiple interfaces to access Twitter, including some not available on the mobile devices.

In a relatively short period of time, the participants formed quite sophisticated peer networks, following up to 60 accounts with the ratio of following:followers at 1.5. Although many messages posted consisted of simple status updates carrying the designated hashtag, participants were also highly conversational in their use of Twitter, with over a third of their messages being @replies to other people (Figures 1 and 2). [snip]

Figure 1: Graphs to show the pattern of hashtag usage on Twitter by the participants.

Some typical examples of messages posted during the project:

"Doing metabolism questions over msn, testing each other is a fab way to learn! If only I knew any answers".

"Has the words 'russian bride' written on his hand, and can't remember much of last night.... Now for chemistry revision".

"Is rather worried about the assessment tomorrow and is preparing herself for failure".

Participants were very open in their Twitter postings and a strong community soon grew. Nevertheless, students were conscious that their messages were public and exercised mature self-editing in their online behaviour, with no incidences of inappropriate content being posted during the project. [snip]

Figure 2: Word cloud generated from tagged messages sent by the participants during the four week project period.

Emergence of Peer-Support

Peer support became a key feature of this student network, with activity rising just prior to assessment deadlines or during revision for exams. Content analysis of the messages indicated clear evidence of the emergence of personal learning networks. Students used these networks when preparing assessed work or revising for tests, often in situations when they were physically isolated from their peers. [snip]

Summary and Future Plans

As a relatively low cost mobile device, the iPod Touch is an easy to use device that does not require much training or support and allows a wide range of applications. However, the data during this work shows that Twitter was the main attraction, with students accessing the service via a range of devices and continuing to do so when the iPod Touch devices were no longer available.

The academic departments involved in the study were so impressed with the affordances of Twitter that they have continued to use it in their pedagogic academic practices and plan to work with other bodies in the University such as the Students' Union to promote the use of Twitter as a lightweight communication channel in the coming academic year.


We are grateful to JISC TechDis ( for their support under the HEAT3 scheme.



Faculty Focus: Twitter In Higher Education

>>> Usage Habits and Trends of Today’s College Faculty <<<

Survey reveals how faculty are using Twitter, and why some never Tweet It happened seemingly overnight, but suddenly the education community is all a-Twitter. Or is it? That’s what Faculty Focus set out to learn when it launched in July 2009 a survey on the role of Twitter in higher education. The survey asked college and university faculty about their familiarity and use of the micro-blogging service, if any, as well as whether they expect their Twitter use to increase or decrease in the future.

In higher education, many of the first adopters were professionals involved in marketing, admissions and alumni relations. Today a growing number of professors use Twitter to connect with like-minded colleagues around the country (or world) as well as in the classroom to keep students engaged, communicate important deadlines, and encourage succinct dialogue.

The Faculty Focus survey of nearly 2,000 higher education professionals found that almost a third (30.7 percent) of the 1,958 respondents who completed the survey are using Twitter in some capacity. More than half (56.4 percent) say they’ve never used Twitter. The remaining 12.9 percent of respondents say they tried it, but no longer use it.

Interestingly, while the majority of faculty do not currently use Twitter, their reasons are varied. Many questioned its educational relevance and expressed concerns that it creates poor writing skills. For others the reasons seemed to boil down to the simple fact that they either don’t know how to use Twitter, or don’t have time to use it.

Key findings of Twitter in Higher Education: Usage Habits and Trends of Today’s College Faculty include:

•21.9 percent of respondents say they are “familiar” or “very familiar” with Twitter.

•Of those who use Twitter, 21 percent say they “frequently” use it to collaborate with colleagues; 15.6 percent do so “occasionally.”

•Of those who use Twitter, 7.2 percent are “frequently” using it as a learning tool in the classroom; 9.4 percent do so “occasionally.”

•71.8 percent of current Twitters expect their usage to increase this school year.

•20.6 percent of current non-Twitter users say there is a “50/50 chance” they will use Twitter as a learning tool in the classroom in the next two years.

•12.9 percent of respondents say they tried Twitter, but stopped using it because it took too much time, they did not find it valuable, or a combination of reasons.


It is clear that those educators who’ve had a good experience with Twitter are eager to share comments or anecdotes with others, as well as stretch their imagination to find new applications for using the tool to engage students inside and outside of the classroom.

Here are just a few comments from faculty on how they use Twitter effectively:

Currently, we have a Russian instructor using it to tweet on every day activities. His students respond in Russian. It gives him a chance to correct mistakes and it gives the students daily practice in writing and understanding the language. Students from other universities have joined in to make it a very dynamic learning tool.

Turned a traditional assignment into a Twitter assignment. Received more quality and quantity of student input using Twitter.

I use Twitter to encourage students to participate in class. It can be a good tool as long as the professor uses some structure in the discussion - such as posting questions about a reading for the students to answer.

Of the survey participants who answered the question “What are your reasons for NOT using Twitter?” more than 161 added comments to further explain their position. [snip]


Full Report (PDF) Available As Free Download After Registration


Twitter For Education: Considerations & Possibliites

HollyRae Bemis-Schurtz and Laura Grant 
 New Mexico State University / Thursday / October 22 2009  

New Mexico Technology in Education (NM TIE) 2009 Conference   October 21-23 2009 / Wednesday > Friday / Ruidoso Convention Center / Ruidoso, NM.

Educators around the world are utilizing Twitter as a personal learning environment, but how else can microblogging be used in education? From K12 to Higher Education, we will present the possibilities of Twitter and alternative tools in both instructional and student support contexts. We’ll share examples of how elementary, secondary and higher education faculty and institutions are using microblogging to augment communication in thoughtful ways, but we won’t stop there. Social media tools like this require important safety and security considerations as well as outcomes based planning. Join us and identify issues and strategies you’ll need to know about Twitter for educational purposes.


>Presentation Overview
> Higher Education
> Secondary
> Elementary
> Charting Clear Outcomes
> Safety & Security Considerations
> Alternative Tools


Resources on Getting Started with Twitter

> NMSU Twitter Camp Wiki
> Mashable's Twitter Guide Book
> Twitter for Business (Twitter 101)
> We Follow (A directory of Twitter users)
> Twitter Tools

Examples of Higher Education Twitter Presences

> []
> []
> []

Twitter & Microblogging in Education Resources

>Microblogging Education
> Educational Presence Twitter




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ACU > Chemistry Labs, Classes Combine Science With Mobile Learning

Cynthia Powell, a Mobile-Learning Fellow at ACU, conducted a controlled study investigating the impact of modifying the primary mode of instruction in a laboratory course.

"A very important movement in science education is the inclusion of inquiry-based experiments," says Cynthia Powell, instructor of chemistry and biochemistry. "Inquiry-based experiments require students to plan and execute their own experiments. And a lot of research has shown that this type of experiment helps students understand and learn material a lot more effectively.

"The problem is, students coming into a laboratory very often don't have the supporting skills they need to plan a rigorous experiment. So this semester, we prepared podcasts that could be used as scaffolding tools or support tools for our students," she says. "This would allow students to access information on how to do a particular procedure, or to use a particular technique or type of equipment, and independently access the information they needed to plan their own experiment."

Powell and her teaching assistants monitored both the students who had access to the podcasts and the students who did not. The results were clear: Students who had access to the podcasts on their iPhones needed much less assistance from Powell or the TAs than the students who didn't have access to the podcasts.


"We feel like this is critical," Powell says. "As scientists, our students need to be learning how to collect and gather data on their own, and this is an important way that we can help our students on this path toward independence."



See Also

Using iPhones In The General Chemistry Laboratory / Cynthia B. Powell, Diana Mason


Engineering Ed > Learning In 140-Character Bites

David Zax / ASEE Prism Magazine / October 2009 /

Twitter can improve teacher-student communication, in and out of class.

In most respects, Prof. Natasha Neogi’s aerospace engineering class is like any other. It’s a large, hour-long lecture-style course at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. But at the halfway mark, Neogi’s class takes on a new twist. She invites her students to log on to Twitter – the “micro-blogging” service that limits messages to 140 characters – and write in with questions. Neogi sifts through the “tweets,” in Twitter-speak, addressing the most common sticking point at the end of class.

Of course, plenty of professors — engineering and otherwise — have long been using Twitter. They tweet about interesting links they’ve come across; they complain about their flight delays; they keep us updated on their cats. But there are also professors who, like Neogi, have begun to bring Twitter into the lecture hall or seminar room. [snip]


Gordon Snyder, who directs the National Center for Information and Communications Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts, has also experimented with the back channel. He assigned his class a "hashtag",  [snip]

He also has found Twitter useful for getting a read on a room. Professors are familiar with the inscrutable sight of a lecture hall full of mute students. Are they listening? Understanding? Many professors have adopted "clickers," polling devices used to quiz students on a topic recently covered or to gauge students' opinions when venturing into politically sensitive subject matter. Snyder, whose center is funded by the National Science Foundation, considers Twitter a "modern and much more effective" clicker.

Of course, skepticism in academia remains the norm ... . But Twitter evangelists have ready answers for skeptics. Does it erase a necessary distance between professor and student, eroding professional authority? That depends on your view, says McDonald: If you think, "'Well, I'm the teacher, and people just need to listen to what I have to say'... then Twitter is not useful for you." Does Twitter distract students? "I see it as a way to keep students engaged," says Snyder. Besides, some argue, students often are already using these technologies in class; professors are simply co-opting a tool that would otherwise serve as a distraction. "If you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em," sums up Kathy Schmidt, director of the Faculty Innovation Center for the College of Engineering at the University of Texas - Austin.


Danger of 'Parallel Discussions'

Punya Mishra, associate professor of educational psychology and technology at Michigan State University, notes that ...  there is "no such thing as an educational technology." Rather, "there are various technologies, and instructors need to repurpose them for their own needs." Last year, Mishra tried integrating a micro-blogging service similar to Twitter into a graduate seminar, but "I felt two parallel discussions were going on, but they didn't pull together productively at the end." He spent the week considering what went wrong and then designated a block of time near the end of class for students to catch up on the contents of the micro-blogging feed. Afterward, the class reconvened to continue a newly enriched discussion. With this bit of thoughtful tinkering, micro-blogging proved useful.

Mishra followed that experiment with a more ambitious one: using Twitter to join students from different continents. [snip]. He praises Twitter for "this ability to connect people... The sense of community can be very useful and powerful."

But just because Twitter has found success in some classrooms doesn't mean it's right for all engineering educators. After all, most of the experiments have thus far been led by professors of educational technology or social media itself ... .

One common concern is that Twitter currently isn't equipped to deal with engineering's lingua franca: mathematics. [snip]. Though an advocate for new classroom technologies, he doesn't foresee using Twitter in courses heavy in equations and scientific formulas. "There's something organic about a concept flowing from your brain to your hand to the board, and from the board to their hand and their brain," he says. [snip]




!!! Thanks To My ISU Colleague / Dr. Jacob D. Schroeder / For The HeadsUp !!