Friday, December 9, 2011

Module 8: Assessment Methods for Mobile Learning

Module 8 focused on assessment methods for mobile learning.  We analyzed effectiveness of mobile learning tools for formative and summative assessment.  We also analyzed how to repurpose or complement instructional content and learning activities of various media types via mobile instruction and extend learning opportunities beyond traditional barriers.

Required Readings
  1. Challenges in Evaluating Mobile Learning
    by Giasemi N. Vavoula - University of Leicester, United Kingdom and Mike Sharples - LSRI, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
    Six challenges in evaluating mobile learning are proposed: capturing and analyzing learning in context and across contexts, measuring mobile learning processes and outcomes, respecting learner/participant privacy, assessing mobile technology utility and usability, considering the wider organizational and socio-cultural context of learning, and assessing in/formality.

  2. Mobile Learning Requires New Thinking in Measurement
    This key difference in the reason for putting learning content online in a mobile-accessible format should be a tip that the previous methods for measurement may need re-evaluation.
Optional Readings
  1. A guide to working with m-learning standards: A manual for teachers, trainers and developers
    Aims to provide a bridge between the technical requirements of mobile
    technologies and the teaching and learning strategies teachers, resource developers, and learners may wish to employ.

  2. The School of One mission is to provide students with personalized, effective, and dynamic classroom instruction customized to their particular academic needs, interests, and learning preferences.

  3. Smartphones give you wings: Pedagogical affordances of mobile Web 2.0
    Provides an overview of the potential of the integration of mobile Web 2.0 tools (based around smartphones) to facilitate social constructivist pedagogies and engage students in tertiary education.

  4. Mobile Phones for Data Collection
    Looks at choosing a mobile data collection solution, from defining the information requirements to choosing the most appropriate technology strategy for a specific organizational context and communication environment.

  5. Evaluation Rubric for iPad/iPod Apps Content and components of an application.

  6. gWhiz Mobile Learning Assessment
    Affordable mobile productivity and learning tools. 

gWhiz Mobile Learning Assessment (MLA)


Activity 1:  Assessing Effectiveness of Mobile Learning. Post to the class discussion board your description of how you would use a mobile device as an assessment tool.  For example, quizzes, blog entries, recording reflection. How would you determine if a mobile activity is successful?  I submitted the following:

Continuing the Theme:  A Faculty Development Flipped Classroom workshop:

In my 'flipped classroom" lesson plan, the workshop participants will be using their mobile devices and Twitter.  As the final step during the workshop, I've set up a hashtag (#IMTwrapup) and while everyone is still in the training room, I will display the TweetDeck screen and solicit feedback from the participants on the overall workshop:  the tools used in the workshop, the flipped classroom method, and the particpants' key take-aways.
Another way to solicit feedback would be to ask participants to tweet at a later time, after they have had some time to think about the workshop and what they have learned.
I would also ask the participants to dedicate one class meeting to using Twitter, as a follow-up to the workshop.  I could use a Google Form to assess their success with the exercise, or have them Tweet answers to the #IMTeval hashtag.

Activity 2 had us creating our own survey or quiz using  I created a poll for my family members containing 5 options for an annual family gathering.

Activity 3:  Create a Mobile Quiz using Google Forms  I created a quiz for ESL learners, with four questions containing multiple choice answers. I sent the link to the quiz to my classmates.  I have used Google Forms in my work here at UMM.  We also looked at the Flubaroo grading tool that works along with Google Forms to do self-graded quizzing.  (Flubaroo video).  We also looked at some Google Forms Templates.  I posted the following to the class discussion board:

Mobile Google Forms -- Use at My Institution:
At my University, we have been using Google Apps for about one year now. More and more people are reading their University email via their smartphones. This makes it really convenient for me to use Google Forms in Seminars and Workshops. Prior to the seminar or workshop, I send an email to the registered participants, that includes a link to the workshop or seminar evaluation form. At the end of the seminar or workshop, I display the form and ask them to check their email for the link. Some of them sit right there and complete the form, and others return to their own areas of campus and then complete the form.
I also use Google Forms for workshop and seminar registrations. I love the way that all responses are received within a Google Spreadsheet which allows flexibility for rearranging columns and creating subsidiary spreadsheets -- such as sign-in sheets and final attendance reporting.

Activity 4:  Write a memo to your principal, supervisor, department chair, or mentor describing what you now know about mLearning and why incorporating mobile learning will benefit your institution. I wrote a memo to the Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean, and also to my departmental supervisor. Here is the memo:

Date:     November 29, 2011
To:        Bart Finzel, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean,
             Roger Boleman, Director of Instructional & Media Technologies
From:    Pamela Gades, Instructional Technology Specialist

Purpose of Memo

The purpose of this memo is to share with you my reflections on what I have learned about mLearning and why I think that incorporating mobile learning at UMM will enhance and strengthen our academic mission.

The Beginning

My primary interest in taking this course was to be able to explore how mobile technologies are being used in higher education. Along with that, I was hoping to learn whether student learning can be increased by the use of mobile technologies.

My Quest for Answers

During the course, I experienced first-hand what it was like to use a mobile device as the primary tool for interacting with course materials, students, and instructors in an online course. 

As I had hoped would be included in this course, the second module focused on comparing learning outcomes of mobile education with face to face education. One of the questions asked in this module was, “What might the educational process of curriculum delivery look like in your organization in five years?” Based on the assigned readings and some additional research, I predicted that we will see a paradigm shift in curriculum delivery. The future will be an explosion of learning. We will have instantaneous access to unlimited amounts of information, to a degree that we can’t even fathom now. We will achieve a level of global connectedness that will make learning from one another an integral and seamless part of the curriculum. We will be able to launch apps that have been specifically designed for whatever we need.  Mobile learning takes learning a few steps ahead - wherein learning is not just provided "just-in-time," but it is also "just-enough" and "just-for me.” Apps will trump browser-delivered content. This will have a great impact on curriculum. The phrase, "There's an app for that!" takes on a whole new meaning. So much development today is browser-based. Given that, we still see the number of mobile apps growing exponentially each week.  Have you looked at the iTunes App Store lately, or the Android Market?  We are seeing the tablet scene exploding and smartphone screen sizes are increasing. Manufacturers are realizing that we want a device that we can carry with us at all times, but that still affords a screen size large enough to fit most of our needs. We will leave our laptops at home, or get rid of them altogether.

In another module of the course, I studied the impact of eBooks in higher education. I interviewed our Bookstore manager, Wendy Evink, to find out how eTextbooks have impacted textbook sales at UMM.  She said that they had been selling more and more eTextbooks, but have recently begun a rental program for printed textbooks and because of that, sales are down on eTextbooks. According to Wendy:

•    About 1/3 of the textbooks being sold at the campus bookstore offer an eTextbook option,
•    eTextbook prices are about half the price of new textbooks, and
•    rental textbooks are about 1/4 the price of new textbooks.

While this may be the current trend at UMM, I think it is important that we consider that students are embracing mobile technologies. They will be expecting to download eTextbooks to their mobile devices and publishing companies are increasingly offering eTextbook options, as well as University-wide licensing agreements for eTextbooks.

I learned about instructional strategies and universal access in the sixth module of the course. Universal access is known as the concept of facilitating access to the desired data according to the varying capabilities and characteristics of users (and the devices that are being used to access the data or information). I discovered that it is quite easy to create mobile-friendly course materials.  Most of us know how to create PowerPoint slides, and we do that routinely. But if we now create the slides in a size that is universally friendly to mobile devices (7.3” x 11” or a 2:3 aspect ratio) and save the file as a PDF, we can instantly offer content in mobile format to our students.  Taking this one step further, apps, such as GoodReader, are available for most mobile devices (Android, iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry) and will open and display PDFs beautifully. The iPhone and iPad versions of GoodReader allow us to save the PDF to a special category within iBooks so that the course content would then be “sitting on the bookshelf” ready to read.

One instructional strategy that I would like to share with my colleagues, is the concept of a “flipped classroom.” As I learned in the seventh module of the course, The Flipped Classroom is a new model of teaching in which students watch vodcasts at home and class time is spent in engaging hands-on activities and directed problem solving. One of the greatest benefits of flipping is that overall interaction increases: instructor to student and student to student.  Since the role of the instructor has changed from presenter of content to learning coach, the instructor spends his/her time talking to students.  Instructors are answering questions, working with small groups, and guiding the learning of each student individually.  I have designed a faculty development workshop based on The Flipped Classroom approach.  The workshop topic is, “Using Twitter in the Classroom.”  Workshop attendees will not only be learning about the flipped classroom, but also will learn to use their mobile devices to:  view screencasts, contribute to the course discussion via Twitter, and complete the Google Docs surveys. I have attached the plan for this workshop, to give you further details. [NOTE:  The workshop plan can be found in the Module 7 posting of this blog.]

Finally, I would like to encourage UMM to launch an educational campaign with student groups, perhaps through the Student Activities Office and/or the Residential Life Office on the issue of CyberBullying. In the seventh module of the course, I learned that CyberBullying is a common problem amongst all institutions, K-20. Here is a link to an interview with Shayla Thiel-Stern, a University of Minnesota expert on the cyberbullying crisis:

Things I Still Want to Know

Is UMM ready to serve the needs of mobile learners?  Do our faculty members know enough about mobile technologies?  Are they making their course materials easily accessible and available in mobile-friendly formats?

Overall Impact on My Instruction/Training and UMM

The overall impact of what I have learned in this course on my instruction/training and the University of Minnesota, Morris is profoundly positive. I have already been sharing what I have learned with faculty who visited my office for consultation on their courses. Some instructors have modified their syllabi to include information for accessing their courses via mobile devices and I have had opportunities to demonstrate some of the mobile apps that I have discovered through this mLearning course.  I plan to integrate mobile learning concepts and examples throughout all of my upcoming seminars and workshops.  I am also continuing to blog about mLearning in my Instructional Technology Blog and include links to the apps and instructional strategies in the Technology Learning Resources Moodle site.

Thank you for encouraging me to take this course, and for providing the funds and departmental support to make it possible.

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