HEA/JISC Innovative practice workshop on m-learning, London Met, 7 March 07, 10-4.

Factoids:

  • there were 24 million SMS messages sent in this country on New Years Day 07, which seems to be attributable to more people texting rather than same people sending more texts.
  • bulksms is an Indian company that the workshop leaders use to send texts and receive replies. However Ron tells me that UKERNA is reaching an agreement to mediate a service – this will bring down prices but he doesn’t think it’s set up to allow learners to reply free of charge.
  • they call non-mobile e-learners “tethered e-learners” 🙂
  • they says that Yorkshire men have short arms and long pockets
  • they talk about an “absent presence” when people are bodily together but interacting with people or things elsewhere (if you’re not a radical constructivist you’ll agree that this is a menace to education :P)
  • somebody from Surrey says that the OU-authored Flashmeeting (free, quick and easy online group vid / audio conferencing software) is there for the taking.

Otherwise not much to report – I go to these m-learning things because it’s all changing so quickly, and they are worth going to for sure, but it also means that I’m familiar with at least half of everyone’s presentation (apart perhaps from John Traxler’s Technologies Update, the most striking thing to come out of which was a confirmation of what has already dawned on most of us:

Learning is becoming less and less about the accumulation of knowledge – mobile and wireless connection to the Internet makes an irrelevance of accumulating information – and more about new literacies to do with manipulating, evaluating and navigating knowledge.

And also:

We can’t have personalised learning without allowing for personalised technologies – without recognising and engaging with student choices.

Interestingly I had 2 breakout sessions with a head of IT Services – interesting because he seemed eager to systematise m-learning and to preclude deviant uses in a way which would guarantee the robustness of the IT infrastructure, software systems and approach. This is anathema to how my work feels about things – there’s a deep intolerance of institutional stipulations and I think that’s alright, providing we (those representing The Institution) rise to the occasion and manage to either a) make a good case for not meeting the expectations or b) work to accommodate the expectations. What we should not do is nothing.

An enjoyable day with interesting people to meet and friends to catch up with. The Lieberskind building we were in is slightly queaze-inducing though and JT, who for some reason likes to hug walls, kept scraping the side of his face. Could Lieberskind possibly have designed Stratford Picture House, also on the wonk? Surely not.

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