Wednesday, 12 November 2008

mLearn08: MiLK: students building mobile learning games in higher education by Debra Polson


Debra Polson is a very enthusiastic speaker.

She showed showcases of custom mobile games. Debra motivates students to develop mobile games and they love it!

All of the examples are about Fun first, then Educational. Examples mentioned: Scape (an urban sustainability education tool), Scoot and Milk (the mobile learning kit), I will focus on this last one.



MILK: explore, research, design, publish, play, reflect. (the mobile learning kit)
It is written in php scripting + database technology.

It is all about connecting students, curriculum and everyday environments using simple web and mobile technologies. In half a day they learn all about botanical gardens, creating their own activities and playing it with each other. While testing Milk at Trinity Bay State High (with more reluctant students), the students came up with activities and learned more then they bargained for. One conclusion was that peer assessment is a HIGH motivator. Students wanted to create GREAT games, because their peers would play the game and give feedback on it.

Another example:
MiLK has been used to deliver course curriculum for Master of Fine Arts, Design and Technology students from Parsons, The New School for Design. The collaboration studio course, ‘PLAYLab’ was delivered by leading game design experts Katie Salen and Melanie Crean.

The course was delivered through exploration of three related domains: Game Design, Psychogeography, and Microfictions. The students were asked to develop new gaming concepts for MiLK for play by both students and teachers, propose and develop supplementary platforms or content, and prototype, playtest, and document their research findings.

It is a scaffolding tool for narratives, which makes it really student-centered.

From Milk's website: the MiLK system is custom made for schools. MiLK is basically a set of simple web interfaces that enable individuals (teachers and students) to design and populate there very own mobile games. The milk-building interfaces are designed to work like a simple series of storyboards with areas to upload images and write SMS text. Once the game designers have submitted their final designs, the storyboard content is dynamically sent to registered users mobile phones in a sequence and style the designers have planned. All communications are then stored and displayed on the students milk-journal for later reflection. The milk-journal is a web page generated by the Milk system and password protected. Students can add comments, upload images, send it SMS and MMS messages and share it with other group members. The teachers are also able to track these activities and set some specific assessment tasks.
We have a number of Primary and Secondary schools in both Adelaide and Brisbane currently trialling the system.

Long live Australian creativity!