I found out earlier today that Obion County Central High School began experimenting with “Bring Your Own Device” when students returned from winter break this semester.  This is a great step forward in leveraging technologies with public schools.

I plan on contacting the Superintendent David Huss for Obion County Schools first to congratulate him on this “big step” and second to see if my students and I can connect with Obion County Central High to observe what’s happening or help out with this great work.

From the news story:

Obion Co. Schools Begin Technology Experiment

Some teachers in West Tennessee encouraged their students to bring their cell phones, iPads, Kindles, and other technology devices to class. Best of all, they will not get in trouble for it.

It is all part of a trial period in Obion County High Schools, that kicked off this semester. …

Superintendent David Huss said this semester they gave their teachers and students the opportunity to use technology to enhance student learning in the classroom. “These students today seem to be learning in a different way, and we want to try and capitalize on the technology that they already have.”

From the story and the interviews, it seems the teachers are using some of the tools I’ve mentioned here on this blog as great options for mobile learning and teaching, such as Remind 101 and PollEverywhere.

Thanks to Dr. Anna Clifford at Union University for bringing this to my attention. 🙂

You can also watch the full story video:

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I started a series of posts on strategies I have been using for mobile learning (#mlearning) and teaching in one of my graduate instructional technology courses.  In the first post, I described the use of Remind101.com and how I had used it with my students as both a messaging service for reminders, as well as a method to send “activities” to students where I wanted them to think and capture ideas during the course of their day.

Google Voice

Image representing Google Voice as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

Another technology and strategy that I used in my course was Google Voice.  Google Voice is a free telephone service and also includes voice recording and messaging. Google reports that it will continue be free through 2012.

I used Mr. Lobdell’s VoCall Youtube video as a model integrating Google Voice for mobile learning.  You can see his video commercial below.  (I use this video as a great example in many of my workshops with mobile learning and teaching.)


Because my course’s topic was mobile learning, I asked to students to call into my Google Voice number and define “mobile learning” in their own words for me.  Because we had been working on this topic over the course of the entire unit, I wanted to capture their ideas and explanations about mobile learning, and I believed Google Voice was a great — and extremely easy — way to accomplish this.  In the examples below, you can see Google Voice’s transcriptions of the students’ audio files.

(I find that iPadio does a much better job at the transcription than Google Voice, but I find Google Voice very easy to use without a passcode for students to enter. Don’t get me wrong. I really, really like the utility of iPadio, and it is a great, easy option for capturing podcasts and vodcasts.  See this post for using iPadio.)

One of the features in Google Voice that I find extremely useful is the option to embed the Google Voice recording.  Under the more menu at the bottom of each Google Voice recording, you can choose to Embed (or download if you wish) the audio file.

I used the embed code I received here in Google Voice to repost the audio files into our course management system’s discussion board, so other students could listen to the definitions of their classmates. Google Voice provides a nice, little audio player for students to click on and listen.

While I don’t think I used this technique was used to its fullest potential, I like the notion here of the sharing and allowing students to hear other students’ ideas.  This was the first time I had done this, and next time I think I will do a much better job of coordinating this and leveraging it for learning.  Because this entire unit was new, I was trying not to make activities as complex as possible.  So, I took on the burden of posting the audio files.  Next time I may ask students to use iPadio and embed the files themselves into the discussion board.

And You?

Have you been using Google Voice either for your professional productivity or in your classes?  I would definitely like to hear how you’re using it with students if you have those examples.  I would really like to share these in my classes and with other teachers and faculty members when they ask for examples.

4 Strategies for Mobile Learning & Teaching Series

  1. Part 1: Remind101.com
  2. Part 2: Google Voice
  3. Part 3: Posterous (coming up)
  4. Part 4: eBook (coming up)

Over the next few posts, I’m planning to share strategies that I recently used for mobile learning (mlearning) and teaching in one of my courses.  I hope you find these strategies helpful, and please let me know if you have any questions.  In full disclosure, I didn’t come up with some of these ideas.  Instead, colleagues, particularly on Twitter, we super helpful in inspiring me or providing some tips on how to get going with a tool or strategy.


In my online course for teachers and library media specialists on integrating the Internet into teaching and learning, we dedicate a unit to mobile learning.  In order for this unit to be as authentic as possible, I try to make the unit as mobile as possible.  Last year, I used MOBL21, what I consider to be a mobile course management system, and I experimented with deploying a complete unit of instruction through mobile learning.

This year, I planned a four-part approach to the unit, and I hope my experiences would help you as well.  While this was used with a graduate course for teacher educators, these strategies are certainly broad and simple enough to work with secondary K-12 students and undergraduate students.


Image representing remind101 as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Following Jason Rhode’s recommendation through Twitter, I decided to use Remind101.com as a method to broadcast information and information to my students.  Inside Remind101.com, my students registered through their cellphones (or email) by sending a text to phone number (or an email) with a specific code for our course.  I was then able to send out SMS text messages to the students from inside Remind101.  In the image below, you can see that 15 folks signed up to receive messages, 14 through their phones and 1 through email.  It is also possible for students (and parents) to sign up with multiple methods of subscribing, such as mobile and email.

For example, I quickly reminded students about our upcoming webinar that was happening (when I became a little freaked out that only 4 folks had logged in so far).  And I also asked students to take photos on two days during our unit and respond by audio on another day during our unit, but I’m going to save those details for a later blog post.

I was also able to schedule upcoming messages to be sent on specific days and times with specific reminders and activities.  This was a great way for me when planning out my unit.  I had activities that I wanted the students to experience and I had images or evidences that I wanted them to capture during the unit.  So, I was able to go ahead and schedule these over time during the unit.  You can see the posts I sent in the image above in the lower right side of the screen shot. To be respectful of students and their data plans, I tried to stick with 1 message per day in this unit.  However, if I were going to do this through a course or school year, I would probably create a survey early on with Google Forms and ask students about their data plans, so I could send more messages as needed.

One of the protections that I like in Remind101.com and in Class Parrot, a similar service, is that your phone number is kept private from your students (and parents) and their phone numbers (and emails) are kept private from you. The BetaClassroom has some examples and ideas for how she is using it in her classroom as well.

Changes I’d Like to See

There are definitely a couple of changes I’d like to see in Remind101.com, like those mentioned by ProfHacker. First, Remind101 is currently a “push” technology.  It’s purpose is to remind folks of things.  So, it’s not a two-way communication medium.  I would like to see this change so that students (and parents) may be able to respond to a question or comment on an idea through Remind101.  This may even be a way for students to answer a question for a knowledge check.  Certainly, this may not be needed all of the time, so it might be possible for some posts to be “push” while others may be two-way conversations with participants – possibly just with a checkbox.  There could definitely be some moderation by the teachers/professor/facilitator on some posts.

Second, currently, I can only send messages through Remind101.com’s interface.  This works well for the scheduling of posts, but I would also like to have off-the-cuff or on-the-fly messages be sent out through my not-so-smart phone.  I would definitely like to be able to send out messages in case of emergencies, quick updates, etc.

Remind101.com is new and beta.  I think over the next year it will definitely “beef up” as they build out the features and listen to the users.  Are you using Remind101.com or another service for group text messaging?  What are you using and how are you using it?

4 Strategies for Mobile Learning & Teaching Series

  1. Part 1: Remind101.com
  2. Part 2: Google Voice
  3. Part 3: Posterous (coming up)
  4. Part 4: eBook (coming up)

From my Inbox and I encourage you to take a look if you’re considering a mobile teaching and learning strategy.  I believe you have to be a member of Educause to participate — even though it’s free.

Mobility at Ole Miss: An Evolving Strategy

Register Now

Date: December 7, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Moderator: Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor and CIO, North Carolina State University

Speakers: Kathy Gates, Chief Information Officer, University of Mississippi
Frank Mathew, Associate Director of Enterprise Applications and Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi

Summary: Those who work in a university setting are aware of mobile devices and their potential for enhancing campus life. In response, vendors are offering mobility solutions that claim they can address the needs of a typical university. This sounds appealing, but in reality a solid mobility strategy will likely consist of a suite of tools, approaches, and partnerships. This webinar will identify some of the big questions surrounding mobility and describe the approach that the University of Mississippi is taking for each. Examples are selecting scenarios that are good candidates for mobility, targeting native programming efforts to get the biggest bang for the buck, determining when to outsource and when to “do it yourself,” and employing successful mobility strategies from other industries. Also included will be highlights from a recent mobility survey. For Ole Miss, a solid mobility strategy has evolved from focused study and struggle, yielding valuable insights for other institutions.

via EDUCAUSE Live! December 7, 2011 | EDUCAUSE.

Last week, I led a fantastic workshop with some great faculty members, students, and developers at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) in Jacksonville, FL. A few folks asked me if I had more resources for mobile teaching and learning.  I told them, I had them in a couple of different places on the web, such as my professional development wiki and in Slideshare. So, I thought I would put a few of my resources together here in this blog post, so you can get to some of them quickly.

Slideshare Presentations

[slideshare id=10082328&doc=slideshare-temp-111108221644-phpapp02]

[slideshare id=9385123&doc=mobile-in-he-slidedeck-revised-110922223648-phpapp01]

[slideshare id=7212826&doc=cofc-slidedeck-110309222453-phpapp02]

[slideshare id=5255189&doc=mlearning-mlearning-100921232900-phpapp01]

Professional Development Wiki Pages



Blog Posts





SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 02:  An attendee holds t...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

This morning I have the pleasure of presenting with a good friend of mine, Dr. Joanne Gikas, at AECT 2011 in Jacksonville, FL.  We will be presenting on strategies for mobile teaching and learning.  Along with some of the fun tips, tricks, and tools I often talk about, such as iPadio, Google Voice, and Posterous Spaces, we will also be demo-ing some cool new gadgets, such as AppleTV, the Cars2 AppMATes, and Duo Pop for iPad.  These are sure to be fun for everybody.

If you would like to see the slides, here they are:

[slideshare id=10082328&doc=slideshare-temp-111108221644-phpapp02]


As I continue to explore ways to make mobile teaching and learning work, I was extremely excited earlier this week when our Tennessee Board of Regents Assistant Vice Chancellor for eLearning gave me an AppleTV and said, “Use this.”  I watched good friend Tim Blais demo how to mirror your iPad2 onto an HD TV or HD project with the AppleTV.  So, a couple of nights ago, I decided to give it a go.

After I (1) updated my iPad2 to iOS5 and (2) plugged in the AppleTV, I couldn’t get it to work.  I searched the web and was pretty sure I was missing something simple.  What I found out was I wasn’t the only one having a little trouble.  Below are the instructions for making this work.  I knew Tim was making it look easy.  Plus, all of this was confirmed by my friend Daphne Brown who got it all working with help from Tim. 🙂

Updating Your iPad2

  1. Your iPad2 (or iPhone 4s) has be running iOS5.
  2. Backup, then update.

Updating Your AppleTV

  1. There is a glitch here: My AppleTV was running version 4.3 (and it says this is up to date). Unfortunately, this is not true.  It needs to be updated to version 4.4.x and it can’t do this over wifi right now.
  2. Close up of a plug following Micro-B-type USB ...

    Image via Wikipedia

    So, you have to plug your AppleTV into a computer running iTunes for it to update.  A couple of things to note here:

    • Launch iTunes first, then plug in your AppleTV.
    • You do not need the power cable for your AppleTV.
    • You do need a mini USB cable (that’s it to the right) to connect your AppleTV to your computer running iTunes.  Unfortunately, this does not come with your AppleTV. So, I had to look around to find one.  Check your cellphone (if it’s not an iPhone) or another small electronics device to see if uses a mini USB cable.  I was able to hijack one from from my digital camera (I think its the digital camera cord.  I can’t confirm since I just keep them all in a drawer) and plug it in. I was also going to check my wife’s Nook if this didn’t work. Make sure it’s the right cord, though.
    • The plug on the back of the AppleTV is small and just above the HDMI slot.
    • Your iTunes should immediately recognize the AppleTV and offer for you to “Restore and Update.” This is what you want to do.
    • When complete, unplug the USB cable from your computer.  You do not need to eject or trash the AppleTV.  Just unplug the cable. (I know. How inconsistent?!)

Plugging in Your AppleTV

  1. Now that you have it updated the device, you will be able to plug it into your TV.  Follow the onscreen prompts.
  2. You will need to enter your wifi network name (e.g., 2Wire406 or your school’s network) and the password, if it is required.
  3. Turn on Home Sharing, and the AppleTV will ask you for your Apple UserID, which is your iTunes user name, and password. This should be the same one for your iPad.  These two have to be the same.
  4. Check to make sure AirPlay under Settings >> General is on as well.  It should be by default.
  5. You can also check under Settings >> About the version of AppleTV you have.  It should now say 4.4.x, which is what you need.

Mirroring Your iPad2

  1. On your ipad, double click the home button and swipe from left to right. You should be able to see the iTunes player controls.
  2. You will also see an icon that looks like a rectangle with a triangle. This is the AirPlay icon.
  3. Touch the button and choose AppleTV. A new option for Mirroring will appear. Slide this to the on position. Your iPad will appear on the screen!

Take Note

  1. I also found out that YouTube videos on my iPad2 now have the AirPlay icon added to the playback bar by default now.  So, if I am on a web page with a YouTube video, I can choose AirPlay and it will automatically play directly onto my HDTV or project instead of playing on my iPad2.  You don’t have to go through the mirroring option at all.
  2. Of course, AirPlay will also allow you to play your iTunes music and videos directly to the external video source.



I just wanted to give an update on the one-day mobile technology for teaching and learning conference that is coming up next week.  This is for both education professionals and developers. 

You can still register, but Tuesday, October 11, 2011, is the last day!

Here’s a list of some of the speakers:

  • Dr. James Kelley (Education Technology Consultant for Apple Corporation)
  • Dr. Robbie Melton (TBR)
  • Shiloh Barnat and Matt Ladner (http://www.lokion.com/)
  • Dr. John Sinclair (Desire2Learn)
  • Mr. Michael Plyler (Freed-Hardeman University)
  • Dr. Joanne Gikas (University of Memphis)
  • Madeline Ward  (www.thedanse.com)
  • Cory D. Wiles (www.corywiles.com)
  • Dr. Robert Williamson (University of Memphis)
  • Jay Knight and Aman Patel (www.cure4kids.org)

You can also download the conference agenda at https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-alc/Mobile_Conference/Agenda.docx

AECT 2011 logoMy good friend Michael Barbour put together a list of the mobile teaching and learning sessions that will be coming up at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) conference in November.  So, I highly recommend you pop over to his blog at Virtual School Meanderings to see his list.

I am pleased to say with my current and former students from University of Memphis will be presenting a number of sessions on mobile teaching and learning at AECT, including a workshop on “Strategies for Mobile Teaching and Learning.”

  1. Definite and Indefinite: A Critical Perspective on Defining Mobile Learning and Mobile Learning Environments
  2. An Investigation of Mobile Learning Readiness and Design Considerations for Higher Education
  3. Implementing Mobile Devices in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
  4. Strategies for Mobile Teaching and Learning

via Mobile Learning And AECT 2011 « Virtual School Meanderings.

Image representing SlideShare as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

I received a notice from Slideshare this morning after reading a post online last night that they have moved to HTML 5.  This is welcomed news for sure!  What I like from their announcement is:

What does this mean for your slides?

  • Your slides will display flawlessly on an iPhone, iPad, Android and any other mobile platform. You can send a link to friends and colleagues, and they can view it on the go regardless of what device they are using.
  • Your slides will now load 30% faster. On the web, faster is better.
  • Your slides will be a part of the web. No plugins or downloads are required to view them.

I had been using the the “Slide by Slide” app on my iPad.  However, with this announcement, my slidedecks will play right inside the browser.  Slideshare went on to say that they had:

considered an app approach (build a SlideShare app in Apple & Android stores) at the beginning of the project, but moved to creating a full mobile website, since we wanted to reach the most number of users with our mobile offering. If you send someone a link to a presentation and they have to download an app to view it, that’s not a pleasant user experience. We want presentations on mobile devices to be accessible to as many users as possible.

Clicking on a link and seeing the presentation is a great way to go.  I actually think others (maybe not Slideshare) will create the native apps that will leverage this as well.

I will also be interested to see if I can present full screen directly from Slideshare on my iPad.  Hmmm?  What are your thoughts about this move by Slideshare?

via SlideShare moves to HTML5: your slides will work on all mobile devices now.