Thursday, 8 May 2008

Mobile technologies and diagnostic assessment

It has been a pleasure and privilege to sit on the steering group for the Kingston University, Pathfinder project, R3. [That's R-cubed, I can't find the cubed symbol!!] Some really important outcomes have emerged, in terms of:
  1. the use of mobiles in fieldwork (using ubiquitous wireless broadband technologies), with 3G cards, wireless routers and cheap PCs;
  2. engagement by students with electronic voting systems in group work;
  3. the focus by academic staff on using electronic voting systems, which may reflect a need to control the learning experience;
  4. productive engagement with content via MP3 players;
  5. the role of staff mentors in coaching inexperienced academics; and
  6. beginning to engage academic staff with the process of student produced content and reflection via texting to a central service.
This helps develop the view of the impact of institutional and personal mobile technologies on the learning experience of both staff and students. Interestingly, the reflective journals that Kingston have collated show a clear dichotomy of staff use between using these tools for information management, and the ability of these technologies to create a buzz in the classroom.

Clearly, the next leap for us as a sector is to think about student control of these tools, and how they can be used to reconceptualising face-to-face contact. After all these tools which students are used to using, and we only get to see our students for a short period of time each week - the key is maximising that time, and maybe models for using these technologies will help. As ever, so many of the games will lie in the planning and reflection of academic staff.

I hope that we can begin to discuss and explore these issues and symposium next week, where we are very lucky to have Tim Linsey and Andreas Panayiotidis presenting.

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