Sunday, January 20, 2008

mLearning in my school

Have you had experience using m-learning devices in a learning environment?
Currently the use of mobile phones at my school is more directed at the parents rather than the students. We use SMS to inform/invite parents to workshops and meetings. My parents often contact me using SMS but I only reply if it is before 7pm. I believe that after that time is my family time so I will reply the next day. My students in Grade 5 all have mobile but I prefer to email with them because it’s free rather than using up my personal phone credit. Our school has a dedicated mobile phone for each Principal for school meeting announcements. Teachers must use their own phones and pay for phone credit themselves.

Do you see possibilities for using e-learning devices to either enhance existing learning practices or enable emerging learning practices?
I have heard from a friend of mine who used to work in Japan that SMS is used to track students as they move from tutoring class to tutoring class. As the child checks in an SMS is sent to the parent’s phone to alert them to the whereabouts of their child. In Japan mLearning is a happening thing. Here is a link to a blog post about a new university course offered

I have been experimenting with podcasting in my classes recently. This has developed into also using ebooks and audiobooks. I was surprised to find that there are many free ebooks and audiobooks available on the Internet. Podcasts are numerous and mostly free. I found some great ones called English Bites from iTunes. These are video podcasts and focus on real situations. In each episode words and phrases from the footage are focused on.
My students love making podcasts in the classroom and my Grade 3 are calling these podcasts Gigglecasts as they really like to tell jokes. I will take them to the Jakarta Gemstone markets this Wednesday and I hope to make use of my new voice recorder there. I have bought a new iPod classic and a microphone attachment that enables recording. It is really clear. We hope to make or first field trip podcast about what we will see on the trip. I like to use podcasting as it has made my students more aware of how important it is to be able to speak loudly and clearly. You can hear our podcasting attempts here on my blog,
As well as this we are also doing a novel study from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and I have bought the audiobook and ebook to use with my students. The novel is an ebook and on a Mac you can get the computer to read it to you. The new voice ‘Alex’ that comes with Leopard actually has a degree of intonation. The audiobook doesn’t follow the story word for word but is quite entertaining as it is like listening to a radio play. My students are able to load this MP3 onto their iPods and listening to it as much as they want. The problem here is you only get authorization for 5 users. It’s a pain if you have 20+ students in your class. I am going to give a small workshop about all of this to the other teachers next week as I want to persuade the school to build up an ebook and audiobook collection. There are many free books online but I really wanted my class to do the Famous Five. I wasn’t able to get enough copies of the paperback and that was what led me to use the ebook.

Topolsky, J 2007, College course via mobile phone being offered in Japan [online], Available from: [Accessed: 05/01/2008].


jnxyz said...

Hi there Jane - just got a kick out of reading your blog entry on m-learning - its a special bent of mine and I like your down to earth, at the coalface report. At my school and on my blog I try and take the same tack as most people (ie. non-techies) need some introducing to the concept. I've written a paper about future better uses of mobile phones in schools - its up at the blog above if you scroll down for 'A bright future for mobiles in schools'. Ok, keep it up! Jonathan