Learning in your hand

Mobile learning can be defined as

the exploitation of ubiquitous handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning.  MoLeNET programme

On Thursday afternoon, I found myself sitting in a room of the NCLS with an eager group of colleagues from many educational sectors who were invited by BECTA and the ALT to discuss, share, identify and record how each of us used handheld devices in teaching and learning. When the workshop finished on Friday afternoon I was mentally exhausted but I left elated and inspired.

Image courtesy mobile devices in classrooms

The Workshop

It had three aims

  • sharing knowledge in the use of handheld devices in teaching and learning
  • identifying challenges and solutions, common and contrasting themes
  • capturing excellent practices for future circulation

I met many interesting and enthusiastic colleagues who remarked that the Primary school sector was ‘setting the pace’ for them to follow. I felt slightly out of my depth at times as around me there were representatives from Higher Education (Professor John Cook, Chair of the ALT Research Committee) and further afield (Andy Black, Becta’s Technology Research Manager) but their warmth, friendliness and genuine desire to find out what was going on in Primary schools led me to realise that we too have an essential role to play in the use of this technology in teaching and learning. We discussed how Primary schools have made use of PSP’s, the Nintendo DS and the Wii to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. I used Twitter during the workshop to discuss issues being raised and fed responses back to the group. We talked about Tom Barrett’s use of the Wii and his ‘Interesting ways’ which was described as a ‘fantastic’ and ‘phenomenal’ resource. Many ideas were been developed throughout the day but the following was the one that captured my attention the most.

Using PSP’s to promote autonomous learning

Jenny Ellwood and Rich Healey (Birmingham East CLC) demonstrated how they used PSP’s to enhance the learning of children throughout primary schools in parts of Birmingham. They preloaded video onto each and children could then use the PSP as their own learning tool by following activities at their own pace. The ‘cinematic paradigm’ of teacher led video lessons has its merits but using a PSP in this way frees the learner to continue on their own and the teacher to help with others. And when you attach a camera to a PSP you create a fantastic mobile media tool.

Over the next few weeks I intend to use the PSP’s more with my class and any resources I create I’ll post on this blog for anyone to use.

A great selection of video tutorials for the PSP from Birmingham East CLC