• Dave Foord
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Changing attitudes towards learner owned devices

Last week I presented at an ‘Arts and Media’ Conference in Chester organised by Sector Training.

I presented at the same conference last year, running a session on Mobile Learning (amongst other things), and in the session mentioned (in passing) that at some point in the future the norm would be that learners would turn up to lectures with their own devices – a suggestion which caused a bit of a stir amongst the delegates as they identified all sorts of reasons why this wouldn’t happen, and why it would be a bad thing if it did happen, and how I was such a heretic for suggesting something so completely outrageous…..anyway…..

….fast forward 12 months, an at the same conference with a similar set of attendees, I run another session alongside Ian Wilson. Ian was introducing the use of the iPad within this area of work, and the discussion moved onto the logistics of equipping every learner with an iPad, and the attendees completely bought into this idea – amazing the magnitude of the attitude shift in just 12 months.
Meet Junior.

I think embracing learner owned devices is the only viable option for organisations for the future. A large college may spend many hundreds of thousands of pounds per year to update the computers that are more than 3 years old – this is a huge expense just to stand still, and when you look at the stats in terms of usage – you cannot find an empty IT suite on the room booking system for love nor money, yet the computers are used for probably less than 10% of the time – so we have a huge investment in technology that sits idle for most of the day.

Embracing learner owned devices does present some problems, but all of which can be managed. The single biggest issue (and in my opinion where investment should be going) is getting a good, reliable and robust wireless network that students can connect into. A few years ago I was saying that electricity was going to be a big issue as people power up their laptops etc. But if the iPad does prevail, then this has ample battery to get through the day negating this problem.

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A-levels conference


A-levels conference

Originally uploaded by Dave Foord

Today I am presenting at a conference organised by Sector Training, on A-Levels. I have a 1 hour slot to cover as many ways that social software can be used to support and enhance the A-Level learning experience, and have taken this photo on my phone, uploaded it to Flickr, then sent it from there to my blog.

The use of M-learning in the delivery of ESOL

I have just presented at a conference organised by sector training on the use of m-learning in the delivery of ESOL. The session focussed on ways that students mobile phones can be used to support learning, as well as podcasting, voting pads and of course my favourite tool – the wireless mouse and keyboard. Session went very well, I was concerned that the wireless network at the venue was going to let me down, as it kept dropping the signal, but luckily held up during my bit. All in all was a very good session, lots of different techniques, lots of audience interaction, and lots of good feedback from people. It looks like there is lots of confusion over funding issues within ESOL, and this is causing concerns for the teaching staff who fear for their jobs. Being aware of this, I pitched my presentation very much at things that supporting the teachers, rather than ideologies that could be interpreted as being a threat to their jobs (e.g. replacing them).

Lunch was also rather good.