Trends in My Field: Mobile Learning

One of the biggest trends in IT right now when it comes to education is mobile learning.  Sometimes called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) or ICT (Information and Communications Technology), these terms in general mean the same thing:  The ability for individuals to access educational resources over the internet anytime and anywhere.

At the institution I work for we have been had an ongoing project to provide a quality mobile learning experience.  This has included technology upgrades as well as changes in our classroom strategies, such as:

-Technology infrastructure:  We have greatly increased our wireless coverage and bandwidth to be able to accommodate the expected amount of devices utilizing mobile learning, while also allowing for future scalability.

-Student resources:  Students are now able to access a learning management system giving them access over the internet to their course learning materials 24/7.

-Training:  During our initial mobile learning pilot phase participating instructors have received training in how to use mobile devices, as well as how this technology may be used to enhance the classroom experience, and learning in general.  Similarly, students have received training in how to best leverage their devices to maximize their learning.

During the planning phase of our project, we used a UNESCO guide for both educating the senior team on the benefits of mobile learning in order to garner support for the project, as well as for guidelines to help generate what we thought would work for us in terms of policy and procedural documents.

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219641e.pdf

Additionally, we did require a lot of research into the possible benefits and potential drawbacks of implementing a mobile learning environment.  A fairly comprehensive list of both can be found at the following link:

http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools

Coming from an IT security background, I initially was quite concerned about the project in general, and was overly focused on many of the negatives from the above list.  But through detailed planning, policy creation and employee/student education, I’m hopeful that we can provide an enhanced infrastructure that allows instructors to affect change in education through some wonderful new educational tools and capabilities, while allowing students the ability to maximize their learning through the use of technology.

If anyone has had experiences (good or bad) with mobile learning, I’d love to hear about them!

A brief autobiography

Hi folks!  I’m excited to be starting this PIDP program, and hope to learn a lot as well as be able to have a positive contribution to the course.

But first, a little about myself. I’ve been involved with jobs in the  Information Technology sector for going on 20 years. In that time I’ve been in several roles, from supporting customers, to information security, and most recently as a supervisor.  Each role has had unique challenges and great opportunities for learning and growth.

My career has taken me from my home in Newfoundland, Canada to the middle-eastern country of Qatar, where I work for a Canadian College. Life is quite different from home but also has some amazing similarities that you wouldn’t anticipate.  Having a Tim Horton’s on campus is truly just the tip of the iceberg!

During my career in IT, I’ve felt that continuous learning was a critical component to stay current in my job.  Lately I have come to realize that my pursuit of education has not only been to satisfy or advance employment opportunities, but because I enjoy the journey that learning provides.

Good luck to all in the course!