Monthly Archives: February 2011

Important Terms in Mobile Learning

3G: Third-generation mobile telephone technology. The services associated with 3G provide the ability to transfer both voice data (such as making a telephone call) and non-voice data (such as downloading information, exchanging e-mail, and instant messaging).

4G: Fourth-generation mobile telephone technology. When implemented, it will feature high-speed mobile wireless access with a very high data transmission speed, of the same order of magnitude as a local area network connection (10 Mbits/s and up).

Asynchronous Learning: A learning program that does not require the student and instructor to participate at the same time. Typically self-paced, online tutorials.

Audioblog: A blog that mainly publishes audio files (music or podcasting) sometimes with text and keywords for search engine optimization.

Augmented Learning: Augmented learning is a learning technique where the environment adapts to the learner. Instead of focusing on memorization, supplemental information is presented to the learner based on the current context. The augmented content can be dynamically tailored to the learner’s natural environment by displaying text, images, video or even playing audio (music or speech).

Blended Learning: A training curriculum that combines multiple types of media. Typically, blended learning refers to a combination of classroom-based training with self-paced e-learning.

Chunking: The process of separating learning materials into brief sections in order to improve learner comprehension and retention.

Collaborative Learning: Learning through the exchange and sharing of information and opinions among a peer group.

Coursecasting: Coursecasting allows students and the general public to download and listen to audio and video recordings of class lectures to their computers, iPods and other MP3 players

Courseware: Software designed specifically for use in a classroom or other educational setting, containing instructional material, educational software, or audiovisual materials.

Digital Natives: A person for whom digital technologies already existed when they were born, and hence has grown up with digital technology such as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and MP3s.

E-Learning: Broad definition of the field of using technology to deliver learning and training programs. Typically used to describe media such as CD-ROM, Internet, Intranet, wireless and mobile learning. Some include Knowledge Management as a form of e-learning.

Just In Time: Popular term to described the benefit of mobile learning’s accessibility.

Learncasting: Online educational or instructional content, which may be delivered via a podcast or a syndication feed such as RSS and Atom.

Learning Content Management System (LCMS): A web-based administration program that facilitates the creation, storage and delivery of unique learning objects, as well the management of students, rosters, and assessments.

Learning Management System: A program that manages the administration of training. Typically includes functionality for course catalogs, launching courses, registering students, tracking student progress and assessments.

Learning Network: A learning community is a group of people who share common values and beliefs, are actively engaged in learning together from each other.

m-Learning: Stands for “mobile learning” and refers to the usage of training programs on wireless devices like cell phones, PDAs, or other such devices.

Mobile Application: A software application that runs in a handheld device such as a smartphone.

Mobile Blogging or Moblogging: Sending text, images, audio or video from a cellphone or other mobile device to a blog or Web site. The advent of multimedia texting (MMS) and cellphone cameras inspired moblogging.

Mobile Browser: A Web browser designed for the small screens of mobile phones. Smartphones with Web capability come with their own Web browser; however, third-party browsers may be available.

Mobile: Remote, portable, on-the-go. A “mobile” is a cellphone; however, a “mobile device” can refer to any portable device including a PDA, MP3 player or laptop.

Mobilecasting: The automatic delivery of podcasts into a mobile device. “Mobilecasting” is a generic reference to podcasts on a smartphone, whereas “MMS podcasting” refers to using the cellular messaging system to deliver brief podcasts, typically about one minute duration (see MMS). “Palmcasting” refers to Palm-based mobile devices such as the Treo and Centro smartphones.

Pedagogy: The art and science of how children learn. The principles and methods of instruction.

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA): A small, handheld computer currently limited in functionality (e.g., calendar, rolodex, to do list). PDA’s are expanding in their capabilities to include wireless e-mail and Internet access, thus opening opportunities for mobile learning and support

Podagogy: Where podcasting meets teaching & learning, or using portable media players to support learning.

Podcast: A podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication.

Smartphone: Any handheld device that integrates personal information management and mobile phone capabilities in the same device. Often, this includes adding phone functions to already capable PDAs or putting “smart” capabilities, such as PDA functions, into a mobile phone. The key feature of a smartphone is that one can install additional applications to the device.

SMS: Short Message Service allowing messages of up to 160 characters to be sent between phones on any network

Synchronous Learning: A learning program in which the student and instructor participate at the same time. For example, an instructor-led chat session is a form of synchronous learning.

Ubiquitous Learning: Ubiquitous learning (or u-learning) is equivalent to some form of simple mobile learning, e.g. that learning environments can be accessed in various contexts and situations. An ubiquitous learning environment is any setting in which students can become totally immersed in the learning process.

Wireless Application Protocol: The technical specifications required to communicate and display content on wireless devices, such as WAP-enabled cell phones. Relevant for m-learning

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Mobl21 Interviews | Mobile Learning–University Perspective

This is the second installment in a series of interviews Mobl21 is conducting to get in-the-classroom feedback on how mobile learning and technology is being viewed and used.

This week, Mobl21 talks to Michael M. Grant, Associate Professor of Instructional Design & Technology at the University of Memphis.

Mobl21: Please tell us a little about your role at the University of Memphis and the objectives you are trying to achieve in this role.
Michael: I am an associate professor of instructional design and technology in our College of Education. Last summer, I began working with our Tennessee Board of Regents’ mobile learning initiatives, where we were exploring the use of Apple iPads and other mobile technologies in workforce development and higher education teaching and learning.

Mobl21: What level of technology sophistication do your students experience in their classrooms?
Michael: I typically work with three types of students.

Preservice teachers: These students are completing a degree in order to teach children and have technology experiences for personal productivity and entertainment, but often struggle with how to integrate technology to support student learning and how to use technology to support their own learning.

Graduate inservice teachers: These students at the Masters and doctoral levels often have many years of teaching experience, and they are looking to make their teaching more relevant for the 21st century. They are interested in maximizing technology to support their teaching and their students’ learning.

Graduate students: I work with graduate students seeking degrees in instructional design. As part of our program, these Masters and doctoral students receive extensive experiences with designing and developing sophisticated elearning and interactive instruction. These students also have the deepest understandings of theories of learning and models of instruction.

Mobl21: When or how you did you first realize that mobile learning could be implemented in your classrooms?
Michael: In the field of instructional design and technology, mobile learning is the most recent evolution of integrating technologies to meaningfully support teaching and learning.

In the spring 2010, I began to participate in a number of webinars and workshops about using mobile computing devices, like cellphones, iPhones, and other smartphones, in classrooms and on college campuses. I felt that the pervasiveness of these devices was continuing to grow. Likewise, both K-12 students and college students already owned many of these devices. The cellphones and smartphones were integral to their lives. Subsequently, I decided to invest a significant portion of my research to explore how we could leverage these devices to support formal and informal teaching and learning. I also decided to spend a sabbatical semester in Fall 2010 dedicated to understanding, researching, and testing mobile learning opportunities. I spent a considerable amount of time testing ideas, speaking with other experts in mobile learning, and presenting about what I’d learned. One of the areas that I have been attempting to explain is mobile learning and how that might be different from mobile learning environments.

Mobl21: Please tell us about the mobile learning projects you’ve implemented so far.
Michael: When MOBL21 was very new, that is during June 2010, I decided to pilot my first project with students. I was teaching an online course for inservice teachers and library media specialists on ways to integrate the Internet into teaching and learning. (You can view a presentation I gave on this pilot student at I created a unit on virtual schooling and mobile learning, which was one of nine units in the course.

I collected data about the pilot with a survey and with online discussion board posts.

Mob21: Can you share some of the results you’ve experienced with mobile learning?
Michael: As a result of the work in this pilot and my discoveries during my sabbatical, I’ve have given a number of other presentations, as well as written about mobile learning. You can see a number of these below:
Mobile learning: What is it? What does it look like?
Using mobile devices for teaching and learning
Why mobile won’t matter

Mobl21: What made you choose our application then?
Michael: With MOBL21 students were able to access the course content with an iPod Touch, iPhone, or the Adobe AIR desktop application. Interestingly, the desktop application was one of the reasons that I was so interested in using MOBL21. Because this was a graduate course, I wasn’t convinced that all of the students would have the mobile devices necessary to access the unit. So, the desktop application was a certain backup option.

Mobl21: How did your students feel about the m-learning project and its results?
Michael: The students were extremely positive about their experience, giving the content and the application high marks in instructional quality, ease of use, and convenience. Interestingly, the students ambivalent about whether this type of unit could replace an online unit and about whether they spent more time on this type of unit compared to others in our course.

Mobl21: We understand you will be initiating another m-learning project soon using Mobl21. How will this project be different from your first one?
Michael: This project, which has already begun, will be targeted at senior-level graduate students in instructional design and technology. The content will be about rapid prototyping and rapid elearning. This project, like the previous one, is a take on creating a complete unit of study for mobile devices. Unlike the previous one however, this project will also include a pretest and posttest in order to measure knowledge gains. Plus, I added additional open-ended questions to the survey in order for the students to comment on their experiences and challenges with the unit.

Mobl21: Why did you choose Mobl21 for this second project?
Michael: I chose MOBL21 for two reasons. First, I wanted to negotiate the content in the online development environment. I wanted to know what content would be appropriate, how the learning content should be chunked into smaller units, how to organize the content, and how to format the content for small screen sizes. Second, because my students are learning to be elearning developers, I wanted them to experience MOBL21 as cutting-edge technology. Many schools, colleges, and companies are considering informal and formal learning opportunities for their students and employees. MOBL21 represents a high quality option for creating and deploying instruction.

About Michael
Michael M. Grant is an Associate Professor of Instructional Design & Technology at the University of Memphis. His most recent research and consulting has begun to look at how teaching and learning changes with mobile computing technologies, as well as how to support faculty and students implementing mlearning.

He is currently working with the Tennessee Board of Regents as the primary researcher for their statewide mlearning initiative.

He can be found online at & through Twitter @michaelmgrant

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Mobl21 Interviews | Mobile Learning–High School Perspective

This is the first installment in a series of interviews Mobl21 is conducting to get in the classroom feedback on how mobile learning and technology is being viewed and used.

This week, Mobl21 talks to Lydia Leimbach, Technology Integration Specialist at Hall-Dale High School.

Mobl21: Tell us a little about yourself and your at role Hall-Dale High School.
Lydia: I work to provide professional development for teachers as we are a 1:1 laptop school. I also serve as a resource for students who need help with technology projects and research. I teach middle school technology classes which are heavily infused with digital citizenry activities. I also work with the administration in helping to inform parents and students when student choices stray from our acceptable use policies.

Mobl21: What technology initiatives have you incorporated into your school/class?
Lydia: In Maine we’ve had 1:1 laptops at the middle school level since 2000. Hall-Dale High School followed shortly thereafter, one year at a time. We have been 1:1 in grades 7-12 for about 5 years.

I’ve encouraged the expansion of classrooms by the use of a hybrid online learning model. We use GoogleApps for Education from 6th grade on in a variety of ways that encourage collaboration and quick feedback. I’ve always been intrigued with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and try to encourage teachers to incorporate different media into their classroom both in the presentation of material as well as allowing students to have that same latitude in how they show what they know.

Mobl21: What do you see as the big hurdles mobile learning faces in practical classroom application?
Lydia: Teachers need to be able to let go. We are so afraid that kids will be off task if we let them use phones or iPods as part of our classroom activities because we don’t know if they are doing what we ask of them. I would counter with this: do you know anyway? The student that appears to be listening to a lecture could very well be thinking of something else entirely. The key is to create engaging, thought provoking learning activities that are relevant to the world that students live in right now. Students are engaged when they see connections.

This is really evident when we try to use cell phones in class. Teachers (and administration) often see the phone as the enemy. They don’t want to allow them out of the backpack for fear of losing the student’s attention.

Mobl21: Have you ever tried implementing mobile learning in your class/school? If yes, could you tell us a little about it?
Lydia: I’ve done a little bit with students in grades 6-8. I like two tools especially- Wiffiti as a brainstorming tool, and PollEverywhere as a way to get feedback from students anonymously. Here’s how I approached it recently with my 8th graders:

I ask all students with phones to take them out and put them on the desk next to their computers. We check to make sure they are set to silent so as not to disturb others. I explain that we’ll use them for a brief activity and that when they are done with the activity, back they go. For this activity we are using texting so I tell students that there are alternate ways to do the activity if a) they don’t have a phone or b) they don’t have unlimited texting. I have the link posted where they can easily find it.

We then talk about anonymity, as this tool doesn’t show a username. We discuss the responsibility that comes with using the tool and what will happen if class members are not mature enough to handle this responsibility. (I always begin by telling them that I am confident that they have the skills to behave appropriately). I then explain the activity.

I used PollEverywhere for this example. I set up a poll question that says “Please let me know what is still unclear about the Social Networking Article Review.” This is an assignment that many students have not completed. PollEverywhere provides students a number that they can text into to let me know what they need to know to be able to finish the assignment.

Some of their comments were:
• Do we need to use delicious only as the search engine?
• How can i improve my suggestions in my article??
• i dont really know what to write about….
• What exactly are we writing about? I’m so confused. :’(
• what exactly are we supposed to talk about facebook privacy?

This gave students the opportunity to get clarity from me, and gave me the opportunity to see where the wheels were coming off the assignment. I ended up leaving the poll up for the whole class so that students could ask questions as they had them in case I was busy.

Students that had clearer understanding asked who needed help and were able to provide some suggestions so students could start moving forward again.

I did not worry about students falling into texting instead of working. I expected to have to redirect a few students and I was not disappointed! I saw it all as part of a culture change in my classroom.

Other ways I have used mobile learning:
• All of my 8th grade website pages have an audio recording that can be downloaded so students have directions “on the go.”
• I’ve used Voki with students so that they can use their own voice easily with a speaking avatar for foreign language classes and also as an option for part of a cyberbullying site that 7th graders created.
• I’ve suggested the use of using phones on field trips or during observations to a wordpress blog to be able to capture thoughts right as they occur.

About Lydia
Lydia Leimbach has a degree in Equine Studies and began her career as a riding instructor and trainer. Her work in technology integration began in earnest in 2000 when she started at Hall-Dale High School in Farmingdale, ME.

Lydia has presented at the UME Summer Institute and has been a part of the MLTI/Apple Professional Development Team. She is currently working on a second masters degree in Instructional Design from Emporia State University.

Lydia looks at technology use through the lens of pedagogy and believes that technology without a purpose doesn’t do much. According to her, engagement is important but not more so than improvement in understanding.

To this end, she has started a blog called Teacher Tech in order to share her classroom strategies and technology experiences with other teachers.

You can reach Lydia by email:
Or follow her on twitter: lleimbach

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Mobl21 paper on Basics of Mobile Learning

Over the past months we’ve published a lot of material on what mobile learning is all about, how it can apply to your environment, ideas for implementation and much, much more.

We’ve now put together a 20-page document called ‘ABCs of Mobile Learning’ covering all the basics you need to know to understand mobile learning. This document details objectives and challenges, steps to take while implementing, and ways to ensure and measure success in your mobile learning initiative.

Supported with graphs, diagrams and tables, ‘ABCs of Mobile Learning’ is the ideal way to introduce the concept of mobile learning to friends and colleagues.

Click here to obtain your PDF copy of ‘ABCs of Mobile Learning’

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Visit Mobl21 at FETC 2011 Conference

Jan 31 – Feb 3, 2011
FETC 2011 conference brings education leaders and technology experts together to exchange techniques and strategies for teaching and learning success.

Known worldwide for its outstanding program, FETC provides educators and administrators the opportunity to explore the integration of technology across the curriculum—from kindergarten to college—through hands-on exposure to the latest hardware, software and successful strategies.

The conference will take place Monday, Jan. 31, through Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

More than 200 concurrent sessions will be offered, which will focus on integrating current and emerging technologies, safety and security, social networking/collaboration, and sustainability into the curriculum. Nearly 70 professional development workshops will provide training opportunities through full- and half-day lectures and hands-on workshops given by local and national experts.

Emantras will be showcasing Mobl21 at Booth 1519

Mobl21 – Mobile Learning Made Easy
Mobl21 allows educators to create content in the form of multimedia study guides, quizzes and flashcards, which learners can access anytime from their mobile devices, enabling them to study and revise at their own pace.

Mobl21 also offers multi-point interfaces over the web, mobile devices (including Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Google Android) as well as through desktop widgets.

Visit us at Booth 1519 for a chance to win a free iPod!

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