Friday, November 6, 2009

ALT-J Research in Learning Technology / Nov 2009 / Mobile and Contextual Learning

Cornelius, Sarah; Marston, Phil. "Towards an understanding of the virtual context in mobile learning" ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17.3 (2009). 06 Nov. 2009


Much of the literature theorising mobile learning emphasises the importance of context with physical and social contexts identified to date. Our work to design and implement authentic mobile simulation activities using SMS text messaging suggests that a third context may also be important. This is a virtual context, the learner-created cognitive space within which the activity takes place. The arrival of a message during a simulation activity will disrupt the real world physical and social contexts in which the learner finds themselves and transfer them into the virtual context. We argue that this disruptive power of the mobile device to shift the user's presence may be one of the distinguishing characteristics of certain mobile learning applications. This paper will explore the idea of the virtual context and discuss the role of issues of context, presence and disruption, illustrating these with reference to a case study of mobile simulation learning using SMS text messaging.

Aubusson, Peter; Schuck, Sandy; Burden, Kevin. "Mobile learning for teacher professional learning: benefits, obstacles and issues" ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17.3 (2009). 06 Nov. 2009


This paper reflects on the role of mobile learning in teachers' professional learning. It argues that effective professional learning requires reflection and collaboration and that mobile learning is ideally suited to allow reflection-in-action and to capture the spontaneity of learning moments. The paper also argues for the value of collaborations between teachers and students in professional learning. It suggests that authentic artefacts and anecdotes, captured through mobile technologies, can enable the sharing, analysis and synthesis of classroom experiences by teachers and students.

Such analysis and synthesis helps to encourage collaborative reflective practice and is likely to improve teacher and student learning as a result. Ethical issues that might arise through using mobile technologies in this way are also discussed. Teacher voice is presented to indicate the range of views about mobile learning and to indicate current practices. Practical, school systemic, attitudinal and ethical factors may inhibit mobile technology adoption; these factors need to be researched and addressed to realise the potential of teacher mobile professional learning.

Sutton-Brady, Catherine; Scott, Karen M.; Taylor, Lucy; Carabetta, Giuseppe; Clark, Steve. "The value of using short-format podcasts to enhance learning and teaching" ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17.3 (2009). 06 Nov. 2009


This paper presents the findings of a podcasting trial held in 2007–2008 within the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney, Australia. The trial investigates the value of using short-format podcasts to support assessment for postgraduate and undergraduate students. A multi-method approach is taken in investigating perceptions of the benefits of podcasting, incorporating surveys, focus groups and interviews. The results show that a majority of students believe they gained learning benefits from the podcasts and appreciated the flexibility of the medium to support their learning, and the lecturers felt the innovation helped diversify their pedagogical approach and support a diverse student population.

Three primary conclusions are presented: (1) most students reject the mobile potential of podcasting in favour of their traditional study space at home; (2) what students and lecturers value about this podcasting design overlap; (3) the assessment-focussed, short-format podcast design may be considered a successful podcasting model. The paper finishes by identifying areas for future research on the effective use of podcasting in learning and teaching.

Percival, Jennifer; Percival, Nathan. "A case of a laptop learning campus: how do technology choices affect perceptions?" ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17.3 (2009). 06 Nov. 2009


Laptop learning programs have been developed to create ubiquitous online learning environments. Given the infancy of many programs, there is little understanding of aspects of the program are perceived to provide value to faculty and students. This paper focuses on the value proposition (with respect to perceived benefits versus capital investment) for undergraduate students in a mandatory, campus-wide, comprehensive laptop learning program. Results indicate that the perceived value of the laptop for technical programs such as science, engineering, and information technology, and liberal arts programs such as business and criminology, justice, and policy studies are significantly different.

This difference results in a clear need to use different laptop learning models for each type of program and that a single campus-wide model will likely prove unsatisfactory for most students. A need to better communicate the true value of industry-specific software and skills acquisition is also highlighted.

Jones, Geraldine; Edwards, Gabriele; Reid, Alan. "How can mobile SMS communication support and enhance a first year undergraduate learning environment?" ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17.3 (2009). 06 Nov. 2009


In this paper we discuss a case study investigating how the academic and personal development of first year students on an undergraduate sports education degree can be supported and enhanced with mobile SMS (Short Message Service) communication. SMS-based technologies were introduced in response to students' particular needs (in transition to Higher Education) and characteristics (adept mobile communicators). Despite being unaccustomed to using their mobile phones for academic study, students willingly accepted SMS communication with their tutor via a texting management service. This communication was used in concert and integrated with a more traditional learning and teaching context (lectures and a virtual learning environment). Drawing on evidence from two student surveys, focus groups and a tutor's journal, we illustrate how mobile SMS communication has influenced the student learning experience.

Taking a holistic view of the learning environment we use Laurillard's (2002) conversational framework (Laurillard, D. 2002. Rethinking university teaching: a framework for the effective use of learning technologies. 2nd edition. London: Routledge.) to analyse and discuss the role of texting in supporting student transition to higher education.

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Sharples, Mike. "Mobile and contextual learning" ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17.3 (2009). 06 Nov. 2009


Pfeiffer, Vanessa D. I.; Gemballa, Sven; Jarodzka, Halszka; Scheiter, Katharina; Gerjets, Peter. "Situated learning in the mobile age: mobile devices on a field trip to the sea" ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17.3 (2009). 06 Nov. 2009


This study focuses on learning about fish biodiversity via mobile devices in a situated learning scenario. Mobile devices do not only facilitate relating the presented information to the real world in a direct way; they also allow the provision of dynamic representations on demand. This study asks whether mobile devices are suited to support knowledge acquisition in a situated learning scenario and whether providing dynamic content is an additional benefit of mobile devices in combination with a real-world experience. The study was conducted during a regular university course at the Mediterranean Sea. Students had to acquire knowledge on 18 Mediterranean fish species by using either static (n = 16) or dynamic learning materials (n = 17). An initial classroom activity was followed by a real-world experience with mobile devices (snorkelling activity).

Learning outcomes were measured before and after snorkelling. A 2×2 mixed ANOVA revealed that students performed better after than before the mobile learning experience, whereas no main effect for learning material could be found. However, an interaction between both factors indicated that the knowledge gain in the dynamic group exceeded the knowledge gain in the static group. These results indicate that mobile devices are helpful to unfold the potential of dynamic visualisations for learning biodiversity in a situated learning scenario.



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