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  1. Visiting Students - first impressions really matter
  2. New Students
  3. Existing Students
    1. Where is the bus at?
    2. How long do I have to wait for the bus?
    3. Can I find an open seat in a computing lab?
    4. Notifications (e.g. instructor just graded my quiz, classmate just responded to my posting)
    5. Check grades?
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2 Comments

  1. Unknown User (laffeyj)

    I have not kept up with all the talk and interest in mobile views of sakai, but I'd like to point out that our team has been working on a notification system that may prove valuable for certain aspects of the mobile experience. You can learn more about the system, CANS, at cansaware.com.

    We have not exploited the mobile aspects of notification to this point as we have been hard at work trying to get CANS working across a variety of contextual challenges. However, we have used CANS at Missouri for several years and are hoping to do pilot implementations at Rice University and the Univ of Michigan this fall. Currently our model includes notifications of such things as new postings, etc. being delivered via an email digest, an interactive webpage and a widget that can reside in the home page, but moving to a mobile application or text messaging, etc.....should be fairly straightforward. Please feel free to email me at laffeyj@missouri.edu if you have questions or interests.

  2. I've been involved with m-learning for a number of years, and one of the problems is that currently there is a ton of information about all the wonderful things that can be done with m-learning (pilots and projects are numerous), but there is not terribly much information about what is being done in the normal day-to-day use of m-learning, and so setting priorities is tricky. 

    While I'm not at all claiming that the work is definitive, last year, I conducted a survey of presenters at EdMedia 2008, and wrote a paper for EdMedia 2009.     Here is a summary of some of the results:

    Of the sample of 477, I received 228 responses from 44 countries.  Of the 228, 176 were teachers. 

    Of the 176 teachers, 89.2% used online learning, which confirmed that these teachers are educational technology users. 

    Of the 176, 48 used m-learning in their teaching.  The table below gives the percentages of what they use m-learning for: 

    Activity

    % (n=48)

    feedback to students

    67

    direct instruction downloading

    65

    course administration

    52

    students gathering data to post to course or other web sites

    52

    question and answer sessions

    48

    assessment

    44

    students gathering data to post to other st.

    42

    course evaluations

    40

    students access. data from crse. data bases

    40

    educational games

    27

    other

    15

    In addition, I also asked what the major problems of m-learning were.  These were the main themes:

    • Cost of the devices and connectivity, especially in developing countries, and especially if a good connectivity speed is required
    • Technology: there is sometimes an over-emphasis on the technology, using it because it is a fad or new or gimmicky.
    • Device size, both screen and keyboard, and the wide range of devices, their capabilities and user-friendliness, impacting on ergonomics, and the ability to display material, especially for students with disabilities.  This, in turn, means that material must be specifically formatted for a range of devices, adding effort, cost and time.
    • Pedagogy: there is a lack of research into m-learning's value, best uses, including assessments, and training for staff and students, which means that out-dated pedagogical models are forced into the technology, and there is little advancement past those models.
    • The anywhere/any time advantage also introduces complications - teaching asynchronously, with no knowledge of the learner context, especially in public places, the risk of fragmentation, encroaching on the students' social world, and lack of teacher control.
    • There is a reluctance by institutions, administrators, school districts (some of which ban the use of cell-phones) to embrace the concept of m-learning.
    • Both staff and students are not entirely familiar with the devices.

    As far as the advantages of m-learning were concerned, the answers focused on the pedagogical advantages of being able to learn while mobile (anywhere, any time learning), the high degree of interactivity with immediate feedback, the individualization of the teaching processes (less linear and more tailored to specific needs), the ease with which up-to-date data can be accessed from other sources, and the ease with which data can be shared with other students.  In addition, participants listed the availability (ubiquity) and low cost of the technology, and the low cost of dissemination of material.  Three participants, however, said that they saw no benefits to m-learning.

    Although this group would be considered early adopters, I would imagine that their uses and problems would be fairly experienced by the broader populkation as they moved into m-learning.