I think I'll start by putting my face to my handheld products by describing them better in my Facebook channel. Facebook is where students showcase their new phones and I can see a steady increase in the mobile technology being carried around campus. This mobile tech is well-used. I get Facebooked by students before every major assessment period. Most of the time, the students are on their laptops and I'm using my Nokia Lumia 800 phone with Facebook Messenger running. Some days it's like a stream of learning by text. I'm hotlisting a lot of learning materials so I can revert with mobile-friendly URLs where the primary material is stored.
The biggest change in the past two years has been the arrival of free smartphones in the hands of new students. Most students live in flats with 3G service coursing through their sitting rooms. Our free and open campus wifi allows students to download content on their handsets before leaving for the day. The campus and commercial over-the-air networks let me streaming presentations, text, audio and videos.
I'm curious to see how online video may increase student learning and engagement. I've already tested the Online Meeting Rooms Webinar service through Facebook. This allows me to present materials on a small mobile screen to dozens of students on their own laptop or mobile screens. I'm watching the evolution of learning from Ground Zero, possibly opening the delivery of third level education to an entirely new audience beyond the physical constraints of a campus or classroom.
I still need to convert two terabytes of multimedia content into a proper repository of revisioncasts. As Ewan McIntosh pointed out two years ago, learners now have access to portable "micros". This practise will change the way students study for exams. I've discussed this thought during the Dublin Institut of Technology E-learning Summer School, chatting with other educators about how to faciliate the shorter attention span (five minutes) people display when using their mobile phones to learn new material. Knowing this, I make no apologies for well-kerned text and simplistic animations.
I'm tucking away all these thoughts, hoping I might be joined by a clever second year student this summer who can help contribute to the m-learning adventure at the Limerick Institute of Technology.
Two Years Ago: "Handheld Learning Jumps Up a Notch" on my blog.