Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Mike Sharples: Innovationi n mLearning: an international pespective

Looking Sharp as ever, straight from the mLearning theory and practice edge. And yes, Mike Sharples is one of the KEY mobile learning theorists, so if you want to get in-depth into mLearning theory, check his papers and talk to him (nice person, a bit reserved, really British)
He will talk about the learning opportunities going beyond only delivering content (via mobile platforms, iPads, manuals.... and propping it into mobile devices).

From basic technology: example in India (Calcutta) peer educators of male sex workers: it is a marginalized community (homosexuality was forbidden in India until recently), but all had mobile phones. It is a mixed reality project, how to deal with police harassment, how to contact a person... and to build a community between health sex workers. It uses sms, with a powerful server engine to play a game, as well as interact through sms messaging. Behind it all just one high-end computer.
Other example: the advanced augmented, 3D, high resolution mobile app with head-mounted display (HMD) which is build for geology students in the Lake district. Where they use mobile devices that can capture the real environment, and on which the mobile device puts extra information (e.g. what if we would put windmills here, or how would this region have looked like in the ice age...).
Looking at three International mLearning projects:
Generative framework for learning with technology (shows great presentation slide whiere learning is shopped up in different learning activities): so what is the setting, the target group...
most of eLearning and mLearning is currently only a very small part in all of the possibilities mLearning can offer. The next three mLearning projects go beyond the small section of delivery normally covering it.

MobiLearn (goes back to 2002, first European project in mLearning)
aim: develop mLearning outside the classroom. Which makes sense in the search of the complete spectrum of learning that goes on when using a mobile.
Three scenarios: art gallery learning, first aid in workplace, work-based MBA course
first scenario: learning in a art gallery (Ephisi art gallery was made available after hours - WAW - looking at Botticelli without the crowd).
MobiLearn wanted to build a complete learning platform: enabling collaborative learning, context learning, open web service based system, mobile multimedia, adaptive user interface.
context sensitive learning: location-based content and services, ultrasound tracking system, context awareness: which painting, how long, have I been there before. The ultrasonic transmitter and receiver, was accurate to 10 cm (and in 3 dimensions). So given that, how can you allow people to interact between people/learners without even having to interact with the device. It knew where you had been, how long you were in front of a picture, ... it new what language the learner was preferring. One of the key aims for this enrichment was the 'heads up' experience, you want people to look at the real world, not looking down at the device => audio was relevant to keep the heads up. If you want to enrich surroundings make use of appropriate, relevant audio. The longer you stay in an area, you can enrich with video also.
What did we learn from the project (after 3,5 years): it's the learner that's mobile, as a learner you interact throughout the day, so focusing on the mobility of the learner is central. Secondly: the system that was build was to strong, we needed to be flexible, modular, blended, integrated with existing tools, rather than developing a monolithic system. Thirdly: a user/learner learns throughout the day, it is interwoven with everyday life. Fourtly: context is constructed by learners through movement and interaction.
Giunti labs build upon the outcomes of the project, but made it scalable. Giunti was primarily a publishing company, they switched to mLearning based on industry standards, and which is modular in approach (Mike says the way to go).

(question by Shilpa: how scalable is this type of project? Answer: nowadays a mixed approach, based on existing instruments and integrating them allows a much more scalable mobile solution).

L-Mo project
Subject: learning languages (driven in many cases by the company Sharp).
How can you enable that type of language mLearning? Started on eBooks, but with additions so it is adaptive to the learners capacity and with dictionaries. Mike Sh. was one of the evaluators, a partnership with Oxford library. The evaluation was with Japanese high school students learning English.
Study: was one of the few comparative studies (paper book, standard eBook and the adaptive system called Elmo), with cross-over design, random groups, based on 39 Japanese students.
outcomes: the students learned something, they learned more than the paper book more, with eBook learned almost the same. But the study showed that most of them never used the dictionary. Interview data provided limitations: lack of annotation facilities, hurt eyes, problem that it is again another device, So a device should be small, smooth in use. so now sharp is developing on these results: game based, audio used, incentives embedded...
Lessons learned: know your learners, understand culture and context, wide gap between what works in the lab and what works with users.

My Art Space
attempting to work with learning through context, construction.
aim: how can you connect learning in the classroom and learning outside classroom. How do you connect these two. so the classroom learning provides the material and than experience is added.
exploit the power of inquiry-led learning, learners are active collectors so use it. Mobile phones are used to collect data, and this data is shared and discussed by peers and teacher.
Formative evaluation from initial design to final deployment one year of evaluation. Findings: technology worked amazingly (mostly not the case of start technology use), students spend longer time 90 min. in stead of 20 min for traditional school field trip), supported active inquiry, active choices and connectivity, need for more teacher preparation (trying to orientate teachers was the hardest part of the project). , manage the amount of collecting data back in the classroom worked because they could do all they wanted, but manage it socially afterwards: choose a limited amount of data afterwards)
Lessons learned: keep it simple,

Because the museum staff was the hardest to get into the project, a new model was developed that worked around the museum staff. OOKL is the iPhone business model, it is based on revenue sharing: venues join free of charge, OOKL sells their content to iPhone users and on the web, shares 60% of revenues with the venues. Venues can digitize their collection using an iPhone running OOKL or user contributed content (great! crowd sourced approach!).