internet and higher education journal cover

internet and higher education journal coverI just wanted to let you know that a former student of mine, Dr. Joanne Gikas, and I have a new article in press right now.  This is part of her dissertation research that focused on how teaching and learning occurred with mobile devices in higher education classrooms.  “Mobile Computing Devices in Higher Education: Student Perspectives on Learning with Cellphones, Smartphones & Social Media” is concerned with the student learning portion of the research, and the data were collected through focus groups with students at three different universities across the country.

We’re really pleased that this research is being published so quickly through The Internet and Higher Education journal.  It was submitted just a couple of months ago and is now in press and available through the journal’s Science Direct “in press” articles section.  That’s pretty amazing!  Here’s the abstract below and let me know if you are unable to access the article through your databases:

The purpose of this research was to explore teaching and learning when mobile computing devices, such as cellphones and smartphones, were implemented in higher education. This paper presents a portion of the findings on students’ perceptions of learning with mobile computing devices and the roles social media played. This qualitative research study focused on students from three universities across the US. The students’ teachers had been integrating mobile computing devices, such as cellphones and smartphones, into their courses for at least two semesters. Data were collected through student focus group interviews. Two specific themes emerged from the interview data: (a) advantages of mobile computing devices for student learning and (b) frustrations from learning with mobile computing devices. Mobile computing devices and the use of social media created opportunities for interaction, provided opportunities for collaboration, as well as allowed students to engage in content creation and communication using social media and Web 2.0 tools with the assistance of constant connectivity.

And if you have comments about the article or the questions about the data, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

remind101

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.

Background

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.

Remind101.com

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)

I am coming off of two full days of Google Apps training, so I’m a little tired.  But I am so excited that the University of Memphis Conference on Mobile Teaching and Learning is finally here!

I am really looking forward to speaking with folks from K-12 public and private schools, as well as higher education faculty members from other universities and institutions.  It’s going to be a great day of sharing, teaching, and learning.  Woohoo!  I am pumped.  I’m also really look forward to hearing from some of my other colleagues at other institutions and in other departments speak about how they are considering mobile teaching and learning.

To get these resources out, below is the slidedeck that I am using tomorrow.  Also, here is the link to the resources that I’ll be talking about.  The focus of this presentation is on bringing the device you have, so the tools I’m going to discuss are a little all over the board.  However, I’m also adding some info in about creating ePubs as ebooks, which is new for me.  I’ve been testing this out, and I believe I’m going to use this in one of my graduate courses that starts this week.

[slideshare id=9740221&doc=bring-your-own-device-111017231041-phpapp01]

This is just a quick announcement to let everyone know to save the date of October 12. At the University of Memphis, together with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and IEEE, we will be hosting a full day of professional development targeted at mobile computing. This will include mobile teaching and learning for higher education and K-12, and it will also include sessions for mobile-device developers and programmers.

We are firming up the schedule and program over the next few weeks. We hope to keep this low cost (preferably free), so I hope you’ll attend. I will be sending out more details soon.

If you have ideas or questions or would like to see if you can get on the program, contact me.

iPad Perspective Aurora
Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Beginning this Sunday, June 19, I will be attending and presenting at the Tennessee Education Mobilization Summit hosted by Walters State Community College.  This is a program sponsored by the Tennessee Board of Regents eLearning initiative, Walters State Community College, the Mid-East Tenessee Regional P-16 Council for Excellence in Education, and the Hamblen County Department of Education.  In addition to a focus on mobile computing devices/technologies, there will also be an emphasis on Google Tools and the move to the cloud.  Here’s an abbreviated list of the topic and some of the presenters.

  1. James Kelley, Education Technology Consultant Higher Education Leadership & Creative Markets Apple Education Group
  2. Kevin Roberts & George Saltsman, Abilene Christian University (ACU)
  3. Dennis Bega, United States Department of Education, Atlanta Office
  4. Wade MaCamey & Lori Campbell (WSCC)
  5. Dale Lynch, HCBOE
  6. Glen Clem, Griffin Technology
  7. Tristan Denley, APSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  8. Gerry Hanley & Cathy Swift, MERLOT – Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching
  9. Bill Hughes & Debra Volzer, Pearson
  10. Scott Nance, GALE & Cengage
  11. Aimee Tait & Todd Svec, McGraw Hill
  12. Margaret Askew, Elsevier
  13. Terry Countermine & Carolyn Novak, ETSU Emerging Technology Center
  14. Karen Dale, Mobile Music Composer, CSTCC
  15. Terri Blevins, Practical Nursing Director, TTC Elizabethton
  16. Mohan Vasanth, MOBL21, Web Base App Development
  17. TBR Library Deans/Directors: TBR Mobile App Library

I’m really excited about heraring from Abilene Christian University’s team of CIO, etc. with their initiative. In addition, I’ll be presenting on a number of topics with Google Docs, QR codes, and my MOBL 21 pilots.  I think I’m also giving a hands-on iPad training … but I don’t have an iPad 2 yet.  Eek!  Gotta figure that one out.  What would you like for me to pay attention to and bring back?

ipods-on-location
Original raster (.png) version uploaded by Cly...

Image via Wikipedia

Early Monday morning I had the pleasure of sharing with 18+ faculty members and university staff members at the College of Charleston during their annual Faculty Technology Institute.  Monica Harvey, the Interim Director for the Teaching, Learning, & Technology Department of Information Technology, invited my to video conference in for the keynote to set the tone for the week of professional development and inspire the faculty members.

I presented on using mobile teaching and learning in higher education.  The presentation was titled “Dare you to move: Making mobile matter at College of Charleston.”  This is a nod to Switchfoot‘s song “Dare You to Move,” as well as a hat tip to Josh Wilson’s song lyrics, “I could choose not to move but I refuse.”  Both are very appropriate for making mobile teaching and learning matter, where I am encouraging colleagues to move out of their comfort zones.

You can see a summary of notes from my presentation on CofC’s site here by Mendi Benigni. You can also see my slides below from Slideshare.net:

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

 

Scanning QR codes at Union University

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to let you know about two graduate courses I will be teaching this summer.  Both are during the first summer term (June 4 – July 6, 2011).  The brief descriptions are below.  Feel free to email me about either course.

IDT 7078/8078: Mobile Teaching & Learning

This special topics seminar will be focused on the current landscape of mobile teaching and learning.  We’ll consider devices to support mobile teaching and learning, as well as the instructional strategies and apps that can support a mobile computing initiative.  Since this is a seminar, my plan is to offer a more open plan for course goals, so that you may investigate and spend time with a variety of topic of interest to you.  I plan to have a significant number of guest speakers from around the country via video conferencing highlight their programs and lessons learned.  This course will be completely online using synchronous conferencing technologies.  The course dates are June 4 – July 6, 2011.

IDT 8500: Evaluation & Synthesis of Research in IDT

This doctoral-level course will focus on academic writing.  We will work on the structure of scientific reports and how to write for academic audiences.  We will critique academic research findings and synthesize research findings into an original, coherent and structured document. This course will meet face-to-face and will have time allotted for students to read and write.  Their will be plenty of feedback.  The course dates are June 4 – July 6, 2011.

Questions?

If you have questions about either of these course, I’d be happy to answer those. Feel free to email me.

Before

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a grant program from the federal government that was going to require that the course content created be SCORM compliant. This was based on an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education that said:

Some higher-education leaders say a little-noticed technical note in a new $2-billion federal grant program could make it difficult for colleges to use the money to build free online course materials.

The issue centers around a single line of the 53-page grant guidelines for the program, known officially as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program: “All online and technology-enabled courses developed under this [program] must be compliant with the latest version of Scorm (Sharable Content Object Reference Model).”

and After

Now, it seems that the requirement for SCORM isn’t quite as important as previous thought. A new article in The Chronicle of Higher Education now reports that

Two weeks after college leaders raised concerns about what was perceived as a restrictive technical requirement in a new $2-billion federal-grant program, government officials issued an amendment that eliminates the requirement.

The article goes on to quote from the Department of Labor that

The amendment rewrites the old language of the regulations to leave it up to college which standards to follow, as long as the online courses follow some “industry-leading e-learning open standards.”

My Take …

I believe that this amendment that allows institutions to follow elearning standards continues down a road that is faulty. To go out on a limb here, I believe this may actually be the first of at least one more amendments that will be issued. I wrote in my earlier post:

As many of us in instructional design and eLearning know, SCORM has little to do with actual learning. Instead, SCORM represents a technical specification to help ensure that eLearning content survives different systems and upgrades….I believe the notion that one institution could build a SCORM-certified course and have it distributed and taught by another institution may in fact be flawed. Others may disagree with me. In either case, I would question whether the assessments are in fact aligned with the objectives and instructional methods for the content when the courses are shared. By way of the IMS GLC Public Forum, Rabel offers an extensive and deep analysis of the flaws of this thinking and follow-ups here.

I think what will happen is that many institutions will realize the difficulty of creating content that can be shared easily. David Wiley has written extensively on the need and the difficulty in sharing instructional content, and he has influenced my thinking on this topic.  Particularly, granularity of content makes it difficulty to simply share. Plus, as I mentioned, instructional content has a pedagogical perspective. It is not learning theory independent.  So, one faculty member’s theoretical perspective cannot simply be picked up and replanted into another faculty member’s course.

Also, I believe some will begin to question whether there is any other “e-learning open standards” besides SCORM. Yes, there is IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS packaging standards), and yes, there is Dublin core, but these are certainly more esoteric to higher education in the US and are not “industry leading,” particularly in the US. I did interestingly find that the US Department of Education pledged to align with IMS Global Learning Consortium and their standards.

SCORM is it when it comes to elearning technical standards.  I do not believe, however, SCORM or another standard will work for higher education.

In a recent article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, SCORM’s limited value to eLearning and training has become more high profile.

The Chronicle reports:

Some higher-education leaders say a little-noticed technical note in a new $2-billion federal grant program could make it difficult for colleges to use the money to build free online course materials.

The issue centers around a single line of the 53-page grant guidelines for the program, known officially as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program: “All online and technology-enabled courses developed under this [program] must be compliant with the latest version of Scorm (Sharable Content Object Reference Model).”

As many of us in instructional design and eLearning know, SCORM has little to do with actual learning. Instead, SCORM represents a technical specification to help ensure that eLearning content survives different systems and upgrades. In order to take advantage of SCORM, learning has to be structured and meta-tagged appropriately so that it is retrieveable, or shareable.

The shareable factor is what I believe the government is after here. However, while much of eLearning emphasizes self-paced asynchronous training. Higher education rarely falls into this category. At the minimum, this highlights the basic difference between training and education. I believe the notion that one institution could build a SCORM-certified course and have it distributed and taught by another institution may in fact be flawed. Others may disagree with me. In either case, I would question whether the assessments are in fact aligned with the objectives and instructional methods for the content when the courses are shared. By way of the IMS GLC Public Forum, Rabel offers an extensive and deep analysis of the flaws of this thinking and follow-ups here..

Some may argue that what is being asked here is to generate generic learning content, that is content that lots of people need.  Labeling content as ‘generic’ is also flawed. All learning content has a built-in theoretical perspective for how teaching and learning should occur.  What SCORM most certainly fails to include is any identification of pedagogy or instructional methods. So, to believe that one faculty member’s philosophy of teaching that would be inherent to a SCORM-certified course is congruent with another faculty member’s philosophy of teaching fails to recognize the unique teaching skills of the individuals. I certainly do not assert that I could organize, teach, and assess the same course content the same way as another faculty would, which is what SCORM-compliant content would require.

What do you think? Can higher ed content be SCORMed?

As I mentioned about a month ago, along with experimenting with mobile learning in my course this summer, I also decided to test out HootCourse.  HootCourse is a Twitter tool that allows you to create courses, invite students, and automatically adds a hashtag for your course.  Like other Twitter tools, it performs a search based on the hashtag and keeps those tweets inside “your course.” In my testing, I was able to post inside HootCourse successfully, and I was able to post inside Tweetdeck and Twitterific if I added my course’s hashtag. Over at the “Free Technology for Teachers” blog, Thomas, one of the developers for HootCourse, explains in the comments a little more about the public v. private versions of HootCourse.

You can see in the screen shots below, that my course hashtag was #idt7064.  Hootcourse automatically added this.  I had to add this inside Tweetdeck (on my desktop) and Twitterific (on my iPod Touch and iPad).  Because Hootcourse is automatically adding the hashtag, it goes ahead and subtracts the number of characters in your hashtag from your 140-limit for Twitter.

HootCourse Home

I really liked being able to retweet posts and share these with my students directly from Tweetdeck and Twitterific.  In addition to being able to tweet inside HootCourse, you can also write longer posts — beyond the 140-word-limit — and these will post to a blog.  With only a small amount of difficulty and a quick email out to support, I was able to connect my HootCourse account to my own WordPress (Viral-Notebook) instead of the suggested WordPress.com account.  (I also found out from the tech support that this feature had been enabled by one of the developers, but the other didn’t know it. 😉 ) So, longer posts can go into my blog and then tweeted.  In Derek Bruff’s blog you can see where he did just this (and explains a number of features too), and this is a test post that I used as well.  I found that I didn’t use this feature very much for my online course that I was teaching.  But, I’m interested to figure out whether I might do this in a standard 15-week course with a little more forethought and planning.

Hoot Course Essay

The last feature that I’m interested in trying out connects nicely to Dr. Rankin’s Twitter experiment in her large class.  This is a classroom version of Twitter for face-to-face discussions.  In essence, it’s creating a backchannel for your classroom.  You can see from the screenshot below that HootCourse sort of strips down everything and makes the posts large so you could project these during a lecture of classroom discussion.  I didn’t use this feature in my online course, but I’m interested in trying this with some face-t0-face courses to see how it might work.

HootCourse Classroom

There are a number of folks testing out HootCourse right now, but I haven’t seen many reviews or posts of actual implementations.  So, I hope some folks come out with those.  Are you using HootCourse?  How’s it going?  Are you doing it online or face-t0-face or both?