I really enjoy hearing about innovation in learning and teaching. 🙂
I recently attended the Ako Aotearoa Central Hub Teacher Developers’ Forum in Palmerston North. This forum brings together teaching development staff from ITPs in the central and lower North Island for a day of sharing, planning and collaboration. Two colleagues from Western Institute of Technology (WITT) in Taranaki shared a recent innovation they have implemented in response to the 2010 Horizon Report, which identified mobile computing as a key trend in the next year or less.
Two of WITT’s current courses (barista training and hairdressing) are being taught via iPod touch. Students are informed that some content within the programme is delivered using an iPod touch and it is therefore compulsory for them to purchase an iPod Touch prior to commencing the programme. An iPhone or iPad would also be suitable. When asked about the reaction from potential students, WITT found that only five students on the programme didn’t currently already own one of these devices and were quite receptive to purchasing one as part of their course materials.
Students use Apple’s free iBooks app to download and update their course materials from the WITT library. This allows content, including videos, to be accessed offline as well as access to Moodle quizzes, interactive PDFs and assessments when online. Apparently engagement is up, with students also enjoying the ‘coolness’ factor of being able to watch videos at the bus stop – great for motivation. For me, the ‘bonus’ in this scenario is the ability for students to engage in aspects of mobile learning either with or without internet access.
In addition to course work, I see much potential in using a similar system for support material, study guides and library assistance, for example. The ability to create e-material suitable for android phones, or even laptops using free software such as Adobe Digital Editions, wouldn’t necessarily require too much more capacity than what is needed to develop Apple-compatible content.