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)

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





Wish I could attend this webinar.  Hope you’ll attend and let me know what you learn:

Free eSeminar: Publishing to Mobile Devices at the University of Oregon

Thursday, November 10

10–11 a.m. PST; 1–2 p.m. EST

More and more companies seek highly skilled users and creators of electronic media, including mobile devices and apps. Learn how Ed Madison, graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon, uses the Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite to teach students — in majors ranging from design and photography to journalism and public relations — how to publish to tablets and other mobile devices.

Register now!



via Free eSeminar: Publishing to Mobile Devices.

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]

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.

Registration is now available for the 1-day conference on “Mobile Technology for Teaching & Learning” at the University of Memphis. As you register, you can also see the conference program as it stands now.  But it’s still evolving a little as we’re waiting to hear back from a few folks.

Remember, this is for both practitioners and developers. So whether you’re a teacher/faculty member or an instructional design/developer/programmers, then this is for you.

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2011 7:45 AM – 4:15 PM (Central Time)
  • Attendance is free for all, but lunch will be provided to the first 120 registrants.

Again, I will be pushing for some sessions to be hosted through Adobe Connect so that those of you who are off location can still participate.

Get your registration in at Mobile Technology for Teaching & Learning.

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.

Scanning QR codes at Union University

Image by Michael M Grant via Flickr

My good friend, colleague, and doctoral student, Joanne Gikas, will be defending her dissertation next Wednesday.  The purpose of her study was to explore the changes to teaching and learning when faculty members implemented mobile computing devices in their classes.  She considered both faculty members’ perspectives and students’ perspectives in her qualitative research.  Here is a brief summary of her study:

The research questions focused on what impacts an instructor’s decision to implement mobile computing devices in teaching and how teaching and learning change when mobile computing devices are integrated into the learning environment. Three themes emerged from the data: (1) teaching with mobile computing devices, (2) learning with mobile computing devices and (3) training and support for higher education instructors and students. Teaching with mobile computing devices impacted instructional strategies and planning. Mobile computing devices impacted student learning by offering advantages, such as accessing information quickly, opportunities for collaboration and providing students a variety of ways to learn. Mobile computing devices also impacted the training and support model for instructors and students. Instructors were responsible for student training and institutions offered a mixed model of support for the instructor.  Mobile learning offers instructors and students more educational potential than simply accessing resources. Faculty members described evidence of institutional support and motivations to change their curricula, while exhibiting an interest in experimentation. Students applied what they were learning in courses through the mobile computing devices, and the devices contributed to their identities and learning.  While mobile computing in higher education is often perceived as pervasive, evidence from this study suggests we are still in the early adoption stage.

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?

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 or have students email me (mgrant2@memphis.edu) about either course.  The seminar in mobile teaching and learning is appropriate for Masters and doctoral students, while the IDT 8500 course is a doctoral-level 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, so we will meet online Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

Since a number of folks have asked, I also plan to have portions of this course open (the complete amount I’m not sure about just yet but at the minimum the guest speakers) for other folks, followers, and lurkers to participate in from around the globe. 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 in the course schedule for students to read research and write syntheses of literature.  Of note, we will take a few class sessions “off” in order to allow you to read, review, reflect, and w-rite. Rest assured, there will be plenty of feedback throughout.  This course meets face to face on Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The course dates are June 4 – July 6, 2011.


If you have questions about either of these course, I’d be happy to answer those. Feel free to email me. If you’d like to download the course flyer, click Summer 2011 Course Flyer.