Sunday, June 17, 2007

on Mobile, Handheld Technologies

on 15 June 2007 @ NIE
Presented by Cathie Norris (University of North Texas, Denton, TX) & Elliot Soloway (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI)

There were 2 parts to the presentation:
1. Hands-on Workshop for Mobile, Handheld Computers: PocketPC Session
2. Talk on Integrated Instructional Framework: Guiding Teachers in Using Mobile Technologies Effectively

Part 1
The first part deals with something we are already aware of: Exploring the use of applications that come with (or can be installed in) PocketPCs for learning.

It has been known (for many years) that office applications can be integrated into the little gadget for productivity use. At one time, I was so fascinated that I bought one and tried to adapt to the 'new' way of life... well, it failed - apart from the convenience, and unless we need to access info while on the move, still not quite convince of its value. Well, in fact, my life went into chaos during that transition period of adopting the PocketPC. I returned to my good old ways!

Apart from mobility (and its quick boot-up time and looking stylish???), the difference on the use of PocketPC and a laptop computer is still not quite clear.

The presenters have integrated several applications for a task (an illustration - to draw up a family tree): The word application, a spreadsheet, a mindmapping tool (picomap) and an animation tool (sketchy) - that they put together called HLE 1.0. Well, I thought the illustration was not convincing in the use of the technology. No doubt, the animation tool, sketchy, could be fun, and can develop one's logical thinking (if used in a well-structured/scaffolded lesson). So, the purpose and the design of the task matters!

The presenters also pointed out that the tool could be used to promote collaboration - ie. the PocketPC can 'interact' with each other through beaming and simultaneous editing (which I experienced in a similar presentation about 5 years ago!). Well, so, what's new? Probably the 'beaming' process takes place more frequently with PocketPCs than laptop computers? So, that's the selling point? Hm....

One observation shared by the presenter, which I thought relevant to our local context is:

  • Difference in Use... between Paperback books and eBooks: Cathie shared that Paperback books is still the preferred mode when it comes to reading storybooks (for leisure). Yes, I agree, it's the touch and feel... On the other hand, pupils prefer eBooks 'cos (i) they could make notes easily on the ebooks - such as inserting 'notes' and highlighting (ii) its mobility - simply chuck it into the pocket after use.

Part 2

Several Success Factors for Technology Projects are shared:

  1. Access (no access > no use > no learning with technology) - Elliot highlighted that the 'duration' of exposure to technology plays a critical part in the use of technology in learning. We could not possibly conclude that technology has no positive in learning if pupils were only exposed to 10 min of technology use for learning!
  2. Appropriate Curriculum
  3. Effective Professional Development
  4. Appropriate Evaluation
  5. School Leadership - though placed 5th, without the support leadership, nothing moves!
  6. Community Support
  7. Sustainability

There is a wide range of mobile devices out there! That includes

  • PDA (ie. PocketPCs)
  • Nova 5000 (VGA 7")
  • Laptop
  • Cellphone
  • Low cost tablet devices

Some benefits on the use of PocketPCs highlighted:

  1. Swivel & Beam (Peer editing, Brainstorming, Collaboration)
  2. Annotate & Animate
  3. Remix

Other readings:

No comments: