A Classroom in Your Pocket: Mobile Teaching and Learning

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With mobile technologies like smartphones and tablets, students can access course materials from anywhere and engage in learning activities while on the go. The new capabilities of mobile devices make it possible for faculty to create new learning experiences that empower students to leverage the mobile devices they are using every day.

On June 1, 2012, NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center offered the 6th annual Teaching with Technology Institute, this year devoted to mobile teaching and learning. The goal of this institute was to help faculty better understand the capabilities and pedagogical potential for incorporating mobile devices in their teaching. A mobile device was not required, but faculty were encouraged to bring their devices.

David & JohnThis institute featured a morning session led by David Gagnon, Instructional Designer with the ENGAGE program and John Martin, Learning Consultant, both at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In their presentation, they provided an introduction to mobile teaching and learning, discussed where mobile learning is headed, and showcased what other schools are doing regarding mobile teaching and learning. They then led a guided brainstorming session with participants to consider potential uses of mobile technology in the classroom.

During the afternoon session, led by Faculty Development staff, participants received a hands-on introduction to the capabilities and unique characteristics of mobile devices. Participants experienced taking photos, shooting video, and recording audio on mobile devices, among other mobile activities. Participants worked in groups to identify potential mobile teaching and learning strategies based on the capabilities introduced, designed a learning activity based on a selected mobile strategy, and then shared a sample product of what their students might create.

More photos from the institute are posted here.

A mobile agenda and handout for the institute is here.

In leading the afternoon guided hands-on activities, I prepared this prezi presentation.

Webinar: Texting with Students in Higher Ed

I was invited by Barry Dahl to be a panelist along with Todd McCann and Brett Kopf in a webinar on 1/17/12 titled “Text Messaging with Your Students While Maintaining Privacy” that explored the reasons and tools for safely communicating with students via sms.

The link to the complete webinar archive is here and more details regarding the webinar, including slides shared, are here. A mobile mp4 version of the archive is here.

Role of the Teacher in Online Education

Stephen Downes, respected thought-leader in online education, recently gave a talk titled, We don’t need no educator: The role of the teacher in today’s online education at the Norwegian Association for Distance Education (NADE) in which he discussed the rapidly changing role of the educator in online learning and made the case for why instead of the traditional “expert” role, online educators serve in a host of roles, including:

…as Learner

  • Collector
  • Connector
  • Curator
  • Artist
  • Sharer
  • Scientist

…as Designer

  • Programmer
  • Alchemist
  • Convener

…as Coach

  • Salesperson
  • Agitator
  • Mentor
  • Coordinator
  • Facilitator
  • Conversationalist
  • Tech Support

…as Expert

  • Lecturer
  • Moderator
  • Demonstrator
  • Broadcaster
  • Theorizer
  • Evaluator
  • Bureaucrat

Stephen makes some enlightening points in his talk and I recommend it for anyone interested in the potential for online learning and in particular, the dynamics of learning in a massive open online course. If you find online learning interesting, you’ll enjoy Stephen’s talk. NADE has kindly recorded the talk and made available both part 1 and part 2 and I’m also embedding them below.

Do you agree with the points Stephen has made? What roles did he exclude that you’d suggest be added? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Teaching with iPads: Tips and Techniques

Jason leading workshop
On September 16, 2011, I led a 4 hour hands-on workshop for faculty at Chicago State University titled, “Teaching with iPads: Tips and Techniques” where I shared tips and techniques for teaching with iPads. Faculty brought their own iPad and Google Account to participate! They were also asked to install the following free apps: Evernote, Google, Dropbox, ShowMe, iBooks, Qrafter, Audioboo.

The interactive online handout and resource site prepared for the session is available at j.mp/CSUiPads11

LMS Upgrade: Roadmap for Successful Implementation

Panel Discussion
The most recent upgrade to Blackboard 9.1 at Northern Illinois University has proven to be very successful and has been receiving a lot of positive feedback from faculty and teaching staff. This panel discussion led by NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center staff at SLATE 2011 explored the strategies and practices that made the upgrade a success. We shared the logistics of the support plan, implementation timeline, and the publicity plan. Additionally, we discussed the testing strategies, approach to documentation and the training support offered to NIU faculty, staff and teaching assistants.

Those planning an upgrade for the own institutions can download copies of the upgrade documents from j.mp/NIULMS to customize and adopt them for their own needs.