I’ve begun my migration to a new location, albeit not my own hosted server. I’ve decided to use EduBlogs.org as my blogging platform for a couple of reasons.
- Time – After some thought, I don’t think I’d have the time to do a better job blogging while maintaining a hosted site of my own here at home.
- Consistency – I also thought it was better to use a tool that more and more of our educators are using and what we teach the participants in our workshops. While we share different blogging tools, we tend to offer the EduBlogs solution by default.
As for Mobilemind-ed, I still have a strong belief that mobile technology is an important area in education . Despite the misunderstood use of cellphones, iPods, and handheld computers in our schools these devices will continue to transform learning in and out of the brick and mortar of our schools. I plan to continue writing in the same fashion on various mobile devices at my new blog location… http://bcsmith.edublogs.org.
If you have subscribed to the MobileMind-ed feed, Thank You! I hope you will also subscribe to my new feed:
NEW FEED ADDRESS:
While I have been quite familar with Second Life (SL) for over a year now, I’ve been giving a good looking at as of late. The following thoughts are just that, thoughts. There are still many questions to ask and seek answers to, many that will take awhile. I’ve decided to write a series of posts related to Second Life as opposed to the one post I was brewing that was too huge. In this first part of Second (Life) Thoughts I’ll address SL for personal learning communities and how I think virtual worlds should be presented to educators. There is increasingly more research being done on such virtual environments and I will try my best, in future posts, to address the work that is being done and the work that has been done (this is not totally new stuff).
Second Life for Personal Learning Communities
I have experienced meeting people, taking part in conversations, sharing resources, etc. “in world” as an extension of my professional (personal) learning community. I recently took part in a book discussion in SL and while the discussion was rich and engaging I realized, afterwards, that I arrived in world, sat my avatar (Tooka Mulligan) on a couch and proceeded to text chat with those present. Now I ask, was the 3D virtual environment needed? My answer is absolutely not. Though it was a fireside chat of sorts, I didn’t even notice the fire. I was engaged in the chat. It wasn’t the 3D environment that kept me there, it was the conversation. The group could have used a variety of tools to facilitate the conversation, they just so happened to choose this one. The way I was connected to this group was not through SL but through Twitter. I would have gladly scheduled a Skypechat if that’s what was decided upon. Oh, and I got bumped from SL three times during the chat. If it is the chosen medium I will gladly use the tool if it is reliable. But are we creating an divide from educators who aren’t so savvy? Shouldn’t we bring tools to them and not them to the tools? Meet them at their level of readiness, interest and ability?
Presenting Second Life to Educators
Recently at a meeting I attended, there was a 3 hour presentation on SL where a co-presenter mentioned that they had made notable contacts with those in the edublogger community in SL. When the same presenter then asked where else someone could make such connections my response was that I had been connected with the very same notables via reading/commenting on blogs, contributing to wikis, and most recently posting “tweets” on my Twitter network.
Even now as I share my doubts about Second Life, I would NEVER begrudge someone else their epiphany. I hope educators who are having transformative experiences in Second Life continue to share them with others, but realize that it’s the epiphany that counts, not the vehicle. Providing multiple avenues for such learning epiphanies, for both educators and children, should be the ultimate goal, not to force others to re-experience your own personal transformative event.
BTW I “met” Sylvia via Twitter and not SL, in fact I’m not even sure I have met her in SL. Maybe this is coming through with a somewhat personal tone, but I’m sure others out there have the feeling that educational technologies are being forced on them. Especially our teachers. Hardly the way to promote such a progressive technology.
What I’m getting at is not that I’m anti-Second Life, but looking at it with constructive criticism. Shouldn’t we be demonstrating the power of virtual worlds to educators in more experiential ways? Why not have them participate in a trial from Of Mice and Men or a body image lesson and let them assume a role to play. Let them experience SL through meaningful interactions not by shopping for hair and clothes at Be-Dazzeled.
Upon returning from NECC in Atlanta last month, I have been resting up as well as tracking the online info regarding the conference. In doing so, I have been reflecting much more about my online presence. Over the past two years as an instructional technology specialist, my colleague and I have thought that we should create a space for our fellow ITS’ to collaborate on. This has not happened and I now admit if you build it and simply tell them about it (even use it in front of them) they simply will not come to use the tool.
Thus, I am thinking of writing more in a blog, either this one or another. I hate the thought of having to start another blog as I have started a few in the past. So, my thought is to roll this one into a blog about teaching and learning with technology and not solely on mobile devices for learning. There will still be that mobile learning presence in the blog, but it will be so much more. As you can imagine I don’t want to be limited within this blog and I don’t want to have several blogs dedicated to just one topic within the realm of learning with technology.
I’d love to read your thoughts on this as I contemplate the future of this blog. I am going to start posting to this a bit more regularly and you will see some changes. I’ve waited long enough to do this and I’m looking forward to connecting with you and more in the future.
Back blogging from NECC…
My conference started at a mobile device panel discussion. Julie Lindsay shared a video one of her students created and posted on YouTube…
Janice Kelly talked about how her students were using Palm IIIc handhelds. lashed the question to the group about whether anyone’s solving the mobile device access by seeking older, used devices. A woman suggested to the group to contact local corporations who might donate used devices to schools.
Graham Brown-Martin, http://www.handheldlearning.com, stated by mentioning the fact that many teachers and administrators who are skeptical about mobile devices in classrooms actually carry these devices with them.
Tony Vincent gave an overview of the most popular devices, Palm, Pocket PC (Windows Mobile), and iPods. Tony feels that wireless is important for mobile now. Interestingly. Palm has not present at NECC for 2 years.
He also mentioned that the Apple iPhone’s access to the web has people creating apps for the web that will work over the iPhone. This may change my thinking about the iPhone at this point. To be fair, I haven’t thought much about it lately, but with it’s emminent release coming out I ought to do some homework.
In summary, we are all facing the same issues, financial, shifting paradigms and access to the Internet when we are trying to build mobile device initiatives.
I’m not going to resist writing about this device, but I will reserve my kudos of Apple’s iPhone for a later time. As many of us that have been around mobile devices know, and as was discussed by Karen Fasimpaur and Tony Vincent at the Mid-Atlantic Handheld Conference last summer, the convergence of devices typically diminishes some of the best features of a device. Only time will tell. These are my initial thoughts on the iPhone after watching the keynote presentation.
I am curious about the iPhone because of what I feel is a strong point for Apple, they control the software and the hardware for their products. I must admit that a mobile device running OS X is definitely worth a looksee. The new technology involved with this device is definitely intriquing with sensors that respond to basic uses such as the accelerometer (is this the same accelerometer in the Nike+iPod?), proximity detector and ambient light sensors. These are great innovations for mobile devices, but hardly a selling point for education. My cellphone has been difficult to get audio files (read podcasts) loaded. Hence the reason I still carry three devices, hey, call me Batman. I do like my iPod and have been playing a bit with a pretty cool tool shared by Will Richardson called MogoPop, which has, dare I say it, potential for learning via iPods. I didn’t come across anything about the iPhone being able to handle documents, spreadsheets and other files through the multi-touch screen. Of course, I assume it can still be used as a drive to carry all sorts of files. The 4GB to 8GB is to be expected for such a device, but hardly compares to the 30-80GB iPods some students in the schools in our area carry to class to transfer audio/video projects.
Chew on this:
- The fine print located at the bottom of the iPhone page: “This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.“
- Developers are not welcome. What is great about the Windows Mobile OS and Palm OS is that it allows for third party developers for applications, which is very important for educators using mobile devices.