Home » E-Learning » Digital Technologies : Experience and evidence.

Digital Technologies : Experience and evidence.

Fig. 1. My conception of lifelong learning building on Elliot (2008)

Why I participate in some forums and not others.

  • Start the ball rolling
  • to get through the week’s work
  • no one else has made a start.
  • I may fret about covering all bases

It can be like choosing a restaurant

  • You want to go where there’s some buzz already, though not so much that you feel you will never be able to join in the conversation.
  • This is an asynchronous beast. If I come in late I may read every post with care before I respond, which can result in a long response.
  • People should feel just as comfortable simply answering the question, ignoring others at first .. or just reading the last couple of posts and responding to them.
  • I might quote them in my own group. There have been times when lifting the thread of catalyst that got them going in another group will do the same in your own.
  • It is tempting to respond to someone in a different tutor group
  • At Harvard they use as system called ‘Rotisserie’ in some asynchronous threads/forums which, like playing pass the parcel (or pass the microphone) require people to take it in turns to say something.
  • It matters that activities have been designed that get people engaged without the need for a tutor all the time.

‘Structured, paced and carefully constructed e-tivities reduce the amount of e-moderator time, and impact directly on satisfactory learning outcomes, adding value to the investment in learning technologies’.(Salmon, 2002a)

‘Patterns of usage differ widely, and the fit between people’s lives and the devices they use can be very close.’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28)

(Blog 25 September 2010) Why do the Plenck 2010 forums work?

Many themes. It is your choice to join. Updates are sent to your email. You read and add, return to the parent, and comment.

They are seasoned e-educators and lucid. It is more jamming around a piano.

You have three hours in which to return to your post and edit, add or delete.

People don’t question the set up, they just get on with it. Do we write about what it is to put words onto a sheet of paper with a pen? Or do we say something?

James Turner, Policy Director at the Sutton Trust suggested supplementary tutoring of school students one-to-one was most common, two-to-one worked even better because of the collaboratory experience. BBC Radio 4 10.00 Tuesday 7th September 2010, Accessed again 16.00 Saturday 12th September 2010)

  • Numerical evidence

“Mobile learning involves the] exploitation of ubiquitous handheld hardware, wireless networking and mobile telephony to facilitate, support enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning” Molenet

The increasingly portable nature of computing hardware and technologies has progressed for three decades or more as the earliest efforts of mobile wordprocessing – the Microwriter, the popularisation of computing with the BBC micro-computer, then on to laptops that become lighter, smaller, faster and more robust, to palm devices such as the Psion and hand-sized PDAs, and the gradual merging of all manner of personal, portable devices that carried music, organisers, phone technology and more, with MP3 players popularised by iPods, then the spread of mobile phones, in particular inexpensive communicating through text that brings us to 2011 and light, very powerful two-part keyboard and screen laptops, single part touch-screen tablets of various sizes that are becoming indistinguishable from smartphones. Uptake and support for various devices has been made possible as networks spread, the technology became faster, less expensive and widespread, and importantly a combination of content and communication made the devices increasingly appealing, powerful and personal.

Fig 2. Types and functionality of mobile devices. Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler (2005:07)

The mobile promise – “that individuals will engage in learning at times when formerly they would have been doing something else; that they will be motivated to learn partly because the devices are attractive; that the devices enable communication from places where formerly it wasn’t possible; that formal learning can mesh with existing patterns of self publishing and online participation; and that mobile devices are particularly suited to multitasking, said to be one of the strengths of the ‘millennial generation’ (McMahon & Pospisil, 2005).”

Attendance at Learning Technologies 2011 and subsequent use of a Sony Flip for interviews and surveys.

From My Student Blog 28 January 2011, 08:38

Armed with a Kindle with the Swim Drills book loaded I was poolside teaching and coaching swimmers for three hours.

For the last year I have run programmes based on drills in ‘The Swim Drills Book’ and have relied on lesson plans and sometimes laminated print outs.

Today I took the Kindle

From The Swimming Drill Book (2006:04) ‘Standing Streamline Ruben Guzman.

Never before have I found the swimmers so attentive, coming close to the side of the pool to look at the pictures.

Here is a great drill to develop streamlining

Fig.3. From The Swimming Drill Book (2006:06) ‘Streamline Float’ Ruben Guzman.

They start in what we call ‘Dead Swimmer’ then straighten up, arms first, then legs into the ‘streamline position.’ They then kick off, add a few strokes and continue up the pool.

They got, far quicker than my efforts to demonstrate and talk them through.

  • Simple.
  • The pictures say it all.
  • Is this mobile learning?
  • Whatever it is, this works.
  • Producers

‘Our findings indicate that institutions planning to offer mobile apps should build on the existing preferences of students for social communication. Listening to audio, watching video and reading short texts if the apps are successfully to enhance the learning experience’. (Kukulska-HUlme 2011:32


“Learners can be active makers and shapers of their own learning. They should be supported in using technologies of their own choice where appropriate”. (JISC, 2009, p.51)

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings in the H800 materials

Mobile computing not just with laptop computers but also with cellular phones, internet-telephony, videoconferencing, screen sharing, remote collaboration technologies, and immersive graphical environments make distributed collaboration and interaction much richer and more realistic. Report of the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning June 24, 2008 (REFERENCE wk21-22)

‘Patterns of usage differ widely, and the fit between people’s lives and the devices they use can be very close.’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28)

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings outside the H800 materials

Many Open University students combine work and study; consequently learning in a number of places, or on the move, becomes a habit.

Informal learning and social interactions are also increasingly recognised as important components of a person’s ‘learning life’.  Academic and support staff are part of this revolution.

Mobile learning is very flexible: it can be the sole mode of delivery, a significant learning activity, or just a small part of a print-based or online course.

The key points (largely from an IET Agnes Kukulska-Hulme Report Kukulska-Hulme, 2010:10)

Mobile learning is:

  • Very flexible
  • Appropriate/supportive
  • New
  • Convenient
  • Contemporary
  • Practical
  • Beneficial
  • Has its own unique affordances/advantages
  • Personal/personalised
  • Spontaneous
  • Immediate
  • Extends access to materials not replacement technology)
  • Locational
  • Universal (ish)
  • Leap-frog technology in Africa
  • Engaging
  • Expected

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (2010), with case studies by Anna Page.

Kukulska-Hulme (2010) says “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”

‘E’ is a fact of learning life, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (2010) is quoted thus in the JISC Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review, “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”

A distance learner’s mobile device (at the Open University) can be used as a way to:

  • carry around study materials
  • aces new or additional content
  • build up a series of personal notes
  • help make or maintain communications between different contexts

Supported by VLE 2.0 and Moodle 2.0

  • organised personal learning schedules
  • give feedback, opinions or answers
  • get quick information or support
  • communicate with other learners or tutors

The initial aim of the group is to develop applications around four key areas:

  • Enhancing Open University brand and awareness
  • Attracting students to new courses
  • Making existing course material accessible for mobile study
  • Prototyping innovative learning concepts

Woodill (2010:53) identifies seven main affordances of mobile learning:

1. Mobility

2. Ubiquity

3. Accessibility

4. Connectivity

5. Context sensitivity

6. Individuality

7. Creativity

Personalisation. user generated content. Bruns (2005) Produsers

  • Numerical evidence

We agree with Kennedy et al (2008) that ‘an evidence-based understanding of students’ technological experiences is vital in informing higher education policy and practice.’ (p. 109)

(93% UK penetration by 2008, presumably more in 2011). More from Mobisite

More in Cloudworks

2% of OU students (4,000 or so) use tablets (not just iPads). 11% use SmartPhones (not just iPhones).

Smartphone Survey (http://testkitchen.colorado.edu/projects/reports/smartphone/smartphone-survey/)

Fig. 5. Smartphone Stats, The Digital News Test Kitchen, August 2011


Martin Weller implies that a VLE constrains because ‘There are so many fantastic tools out there that are free and robust and easy to use.’ (WK21-22 Activity 2d VLE vs. PLE who wins?)

It is the combination of physically being ‘free’ to roam with a robust mobile device, as OU MBA students Lt. Col. Sean Brady put it, a ‘university in your pocket’ (REFERENCE) and a playful, personalisation and desired ‘freedom’ to do things your way at a time and place that suits you, that enables learning to take place away from the learning institution, library or desk, unfettered by a bag of books and files. Mobility and immediacy, exposure to new, or similar products and tools, fashion, peer group, nature of the subject they are studying, their ambitions, who they are, how much time they have, their kit, connection and inclinations, let alone the context of where they are going online and most importantly the means to communicate this instantly through microblogging, blogging, social networks, email and text facilitates and fuels further development, the millions of people online making development commercially viable.

Taking advantage of participation (Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (Seely-Brown), vicarious learning (Cox) and if you can get your tongue around it ‘serendipitous learning.’ (me I think). (WK21 Activity 1c Web 2.0 Tools for learning REFERENCE) Conole (2011) invites us to use ‘metaphors for meaning making’.

  • traffic light
  • nurture
  • swimming
  • hub
  • serendipity
  • water-cycle

Expressed in various forms in charts from Dion Hinchcliffe.

Accessibility: Regarding the failure to turn a 4 day face-to-face course into a blended course of one day face-to-face, then online with four additional option. ‘Most of these problems seem to be rooted in bad connectivity which made communication difficult and audio discussions impossible’.

University of Derby, Online delivery of MSc Strategic management in Africa (Rachel Stern’s blog 5 March 2010)

One in three of com 2011

10 % of all UK web traffic

100,000 in Indonesia learning English through SMS messages.


300 million fewer than male worldwide (women and mobile: a global opportunity

See issues of accessibility from H807 and H810.

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Inaugural Lecture, August 2011

‘Furthermore, since the use of a mobile device represents a new technological means of reading books, articles and news, this might have an impact on how, and how much, students read, however further research would be needed’. (2011:33)

This cover 20 benefits of mobile learning though.

‘We consider that learners who use handheld mobile devices (e.g., their phones and mp3-players) to support their learning constitute a minority at the present time. We agree that their age seems less important than their position as early adopters and instigators of change through their influence among their peers and through their networks’. (2011:19)

Forums and Mobile

In an age when “communities are jumping across technologies” as needs and trends evolve (Wenger, 2010), educators and researchers also have to stay informed about how learners use personal technologies as members of communities that may be social, work-related or educational’.


Belshaw (201) Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review 2010 Doug Belshaw, JISC infoNet

Brady, S. http://blogs.ft.com/mba-blog/2011/06/22/distance-learning-or-nearness-learning/#axzz1WbbnlExG

Bruns, A. (2005) ‘Anyone can edit’: understanding the produser. Retrieved from http;//snurb.info/index. php?q=node/s86

Guzman, R (2007) The Swim Drills Book

JISC. (2009). Effective Practice in a Digital Age: A guide to technology-enhanced learning and teaching. Retrieved from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/programmerelated/2009/effectivedigital-age.aspx

Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), pp. 17–33.

Kerfoot, B.P., Armstrong,E.G., O’Sullivan,P.N., (2008)  Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination:A Randomized Controlled Trial

Kukulska-Hulme, A. and Traxler, J (2005) Mobile Learning. A handbook for educators and trainers.

MacMahon, M., Pospisil, R. (2005 pp421-431) Laptops for digital lifestyle: Millenial students and wireless mobile technologies. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/49_McMahon%20&%20Pospisil.pdf

Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), pp. 17–33.

Rogers, E.M. (2005) Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.) New York, NY: Free Press

Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Learning in a Mobile Age’ (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1-12, January-March 2009)

Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Students and mobile devices: choosing which dream’ (in ALT-C 2009 “In dreams begins responsibility” – choice, evidence and change, Traxler, John (Professor of Mobile Learning, University of Wolverhampton)

University of Derby online survey (http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/case-studies/tangible/derby/index_html1)



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