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I was at the iPod 2010 conference at Oldham City Learning Centre yesterday.  This was a celebratory and collaborative event looking at the use of ipod touches in education.  The event started with a look at the educational context to using mobile technologies for teaching and learning, by Richard Millwood, Reader in distributed learning at the University of Bolton.   I would like to say more but the content of the presentation doesn’t seem to be available yet.  There were then a few short presentations on the use of ipods in schools.  I was particularly impressed with the presentation from the ESSA Academy in Bolton.  They had introduced iPod Touches for all pupils as part of a home/school contract.

The day was punctuated with workshops for discussion.  Unfortunately these were dominated with technical questions and while technical matters are vital to successful implementation of mobile technolgy for learning, they were not of particular interest to a non techie like me.  Perhaps future events could split the delegates according to their interest.   I was also disappointed that all the good work that has been done by the MoLeNet projects over the last 3 years was neither acknowledged nor even referred to.  It did seem to me that the delegates (and possibly the organisers) were unaware of their existence – a sad state of affairs considering the amount of work done on learning using handheld devices (not necessarily iPod touches).  As usual with these events the networking opportunties were excellent and they have set up a Ning to enable ongoing discussion and collaboration.

The afternoon session saw three year 3 and 4 pupils talking about how they used their iPods.  They were obviously keen and it was impressive to see them talk to a room of nearly 100 adults.  Finally there was a presentation from Sharon Tonner from the University of Dundee on how to enable teachers to take ownership of the tecnhologies and embed their use in their own practice.

A good event and it was useful for me to see what the school sector are doing  to embrace handheld devices.

You can catch up on tweets from the day with the hashtag #ipod2010 (I didn’t read the wifi instruction to the end so omited the proxy settings – situation normal – RTM!)  This will hopefully be the first of a number of events organised by the City Learning Centres network – I hope I’m invited to the next one.

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On Tuesday we held a mobile learning event at the Leyland Hotel, just off the M6 near Preston.  We’d had quite a few problems with the organisation, totally down to me being unprepared and not giving myself time to do things.  Fortunately, Kev stepped in and he and Helen our events organiser managed to put a programme together.  In the end it was a really great day.  Dave Sugden gave a brilliant introduction to mobile learning and the MoLeNet projects and then Paul Coulton from Lancaster University showed some fab stuff that he’s working on.  He’s part of a Nokia group of developers and a lot of their work can be found on the MobileRadicals wiki. He demonstrated locoblog in which photos and GPS can give an accurate representation of where you’ve been and various games which incorporated a heart monitor and involved jumping in order to ‘fire’  – who needs a Wii fit?  The list of applications that the group are working on is huge and it’s worth checking out the wiki – I’m sure someone will be able to use these for learning out in the FE community. one of the applications was the production of 3d photographs. This of course involved wearing the silly glasses – so attractive.

3D glasses

For the rest of the day we had presentations from 8 different colleges and all very different.  We saw and had a go at using Nintendo DS, iPods, PSPs and saw lots of evidence of  learning taking place in a less traditional way.  If the Nintendo DS have done nothing else they have made mental arithmatic cool!  Interestingly, 5 of the 8 presentations involved projects for learners with some sort of learning difficulty or disability.

Sheena from Trafford had the delegates lined up and ‘speed dating’ discussing steps to acheiving collaborative learning. As someone who bangs on about collaboarative learning  it was a bit of an  ‘Allelluia’ moment for me.

steps to m-maturity

The final presentation of the day was from Colin Hawksworth from Birkenhead Sixth form on encouraging learners to use their own devices – another Hallelluia from me!

We’d set up a hashtag for twitter and other feeds – #MNW09 and were delighted to get nearly 4 pages of posts!  – definitely a something we’ll use again.  By the end of the day, I was pretty exhausted and so probably didn’t do a very comprehensive feedback but it was a great day with lots of sharing of ideas and discussions.

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