I TEACH CREATIVE college students at LIT-Clonmel how to write for impact online and strongly believe this life skill reaches a higher level when it is part of a handheld mobile learning programme.
The taskings I set for completion during the first three weeks of the first year are simple listings with hyperlinks. A perfect submission is one with no errors in spelling, usage or punctuation. I normal receive suitable content but I want to advance into a practical environment where I can get content on site from students after they visit an art gallery, public event or special moment. To reach this level, we start with validating basic writing skills, moving into an appreciation of narrative content and then try to get a result with free mobile applications on students' phones. That's challenging because we don't have app-friendly mobile phones to loan to students. If I had that kind of inventory on loan, I'd use it for specific creative media purposes such as the ones below the break.
Trip Advisor and Foursquare Comments.
During supervised field trips, I would curate images, videos and audio clips that could complement critiques published on Trip Advisor and tips left on Foursquare. I know people who honed their social media skills by writing useful information carried by travel sites. Trip Advisor's rating system helps hotels and B&Bs convert online visitors to overnight visitors. Foursquare's venue manager's control panel can help increase footfall to restaurants and other places listed on that social network.
Social Media Community Comments.
I award academic credit to students who attract more than 10 comments for content placed online. This could be a series of comments following a post on Google Plus or a thread of conversation emerging after a thoughtful tweet. The essence of social media is conversation. This can be taught quite effectively by using a handset.
Pieces to Camera.
We have already started making pieces to camera where students select an object and review it with a steady hand holding a mobile phone running Qik or Google Plus. These pieces to camera will cover more sophisticated content when they provide the back story to items recorded in written journals.
I am a big fan of Audioboo and think it is the best example of social audio today. I want to reward students with academic credit when they produce an Audiboo from content related to my Media Writing module. I'll revise this blog post with links to indicative content as students create them. It's very easy to see how clips on Audioboo either lead to broadcast content or vice versa. This is important because several students seeking our Level 8 qualification in Creative Multimedia want jobs involving microphones.
Transmedia Content Development.
It's more likely that one of my students will have a mobile phone but not a pen with them. If those mobile phones can be used to document moments related to their first year on campus, we're more likely to have diverse content for a Blurb book, photo collection and showreel. Individual online profiles will be more interesting, reflecting the diversity that sits in my classrooms. I hope that several December posts on my Educasting blog will showcase positive results from each of these pieces of transmedia, proving the viability of effective handheld mobile learning.