Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for July, 2010

Meetup with Rob Newberry
July 10th, 2010

Finally got to meet with Rob Newberry last night. Rob and I have been exchanging notes via Twitter (@RobinThailand and @john_larkin) and also email for some time. Rob had been teaching in Thailand and he recently transferred to work here in Singapore with an international school as a director of IT. Very nice role indeed. We had a jolly good night. It always excellent to met members of your network face to face!

We met at Bugis MRT station and then headed off to Bukit Batok on the MRT to have dinner and couple of ales at the “coffee shop” where Shao Ping and I used to regularly eat back in the late 1990s and earlier this decade when we lived across the road in Block 254 and later up the road in Regent Heights.

We then cruised into the city and took up a posse to watch the world go by. Shao Ping and I often had a Mexican meal at the same place and engaged in some people watching. Rob and I must have looked out of place last night as I brought along the iPad and we were exchanging notes regarding apps and its use in the classroom. We talked about our journeys, music, teaching and working with tech in the classroom.

We are kindred souls in many respects. Rob is a nice bloke and if you ever have the chance to work with him go for it! I am sure going to try and collaborate with Rob during my next trip to Singapore in October. Bring it on!

Mobile technologies in the classroom…
July 5th, 2010

Mobile technologies in the classroom. Well, that is a bit of a misnomer. Mobile technologies should take one out of the classroom of course. I am conducting a presentation on this topic

This year the school at which I teach took delivery of about 120 iPod Touches. They are maintained in these secure cases not unlike a camera bag within foam that was cut to hold 20 of the devices. Teachers can collect the case and then distribute the iPods to the students. They can access the Internet wirelessly. I have observed students using literacy apps. The students sit on stairs, the floor, at desks, anywhere. Inside. Outside. Walls have no meaning. After all, the students are portable.

The school has also obtained two iPads and I have been working with two of our disabled students. Each student has found the iPad to be a worthwhile tool. It is still early days. They have worked with WritePad and Brushes and found the tools accessible. WritePad incorporates hand writing recognition software which I find is quite useful. The iPad is proving to be a remarkable device.

Personally I think the school should sell all the iPod Touches to the students and purchase iPads with the proceeds.

There is much to consider when deploying mobile technologies in teaching and learning. All of the usual suspects apply of course: curriculum integration, suitability, accessibility, staff training, privacy, cost. Then there are the pedagogical considerations… constructivist, situated, collaborative, informal and so on. Read¬†this and this for more ideas.

I have been building a mindmap with some of the ideas that have crossed my mind. I began this mindmap on the MRT between Tiong Bahru and Boon Lay here in Singapore. I used Mindnode on the iPhone. After lunch on Sunday. It was quite easy actually. I emailed to myself and completed it on the Mac. Have a look. I should make it shareable so others can add and subtract. Let me look into that. What do you think?

Mobile Technologies MindMap

This is a work in progress. If you wish to explore more on this topic you may like to consult the excellent references linked to below.

Educause ~ Mobile and Handheld Computing
Educause ~ Cloud Computing
Educause ~ Mobile Learning
New Media Consortium ~ Horizon Reports: 2009 and 2010
Futurelab ~ Mobile technologies and learning
Educause ~ Seven Things You Should Know About…

Cloud Computing
Mobile Apps for Learning
E-Readers
Microblogging
QR Codes
Geolocation
Multi-touch Interfaces
Skype
E-books
Augmented Reality