Technology in the classroom: an interview with Mark Martin

Mark Martin, technology expertWith a breadth of knowledge about the mobile learning industry, entrepreneur and ICT teacher Mark Martin spoke to KO-SU about the importance of children learning through technology. He discusses how their inventive minds are constantly finding new ways to interact and share content via mobile learning. Having trained to become a Google Certified Teacher and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Mark is a technology evangelist working in education to ensure that tech and digital skills are passed into the hands of learners.

 

How do you think technology use amongst peers in education has changed relationships?

The sharing of videos, tech files and images online through messaging has opened up an entirely new topic of conversation within the edTech world. If edTech companies actually saw how young people are using messaging to connect with one another, I think it could be a revelation in terms of product development. At the moment, I think large companies are missing out on building relationships with schools. They try to provide a product that is already at maximum capacity and fulfills all the required criteria, whereas the best edTech companies I have worked with have been the ones who develop a product like a seed within schools. They watch it grow, using the learners as innovators and ultimately create a collaborative product using the creativity of learners, and the resources from the company. The other issue that presents itself when used in education is that technology is quite often used at a face value and not explored deeper in terms of mechanics. For the young people who are tomorrow’s industry leaders and inventors, I think it is crucial for them to understand how technology is built and how it works to provide the services it does.

 

What is a key concept that you think needs to be remembered when creating educational tools?

Sustainability is something I would have at the top of my priority list when developing educational tools. It is great that the developersScreenshot 2015-02-27 at 15.01.26 have allowed tech to be used on a number of different devices, even if the resolution of applications is not appropriate for certain devices (one of the key areas that needs examining!). In terms of educational tools impacting society, we always need to ask whether the product will lead to sustainability, especially for edTech startups to allow a stable business to form. The way we can get to this point through mobile learning is to realise when a unique concept is born and retain it to be able to build on it and transform it into a working, sustainable product.

 

How do you feel about technology and human nature working collaboratively?

When human nature is partnered with technology, because of our limitations in terms of human error, I don’t think there will ever be a silver bullet, no straightforward solution that ensures maximum effectiveness. Technology will work in places for a certain amount of time but it will always continue to evolve, so once technology companies completely grasp that concept, the product that we begin with today will be something else tomorrow. Just like in education, we are on the right track but as it continues, the policies change and we learn more about what works and what doesn’t, so the legislation and teaching methods that were in place ten years ago have dramatically altered compared to where we are today.

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How do you think technology can assist those not within education, employment or training?

It is all about the current mobile services provided and how they are used to access information from outside an educational setting. Having been a youth worker for Southwark Council, I have seen the impact learning can have on a young person: it is not necessarily about following a structured curriculum, but by engaging them with technology and learning in an unconventional way, they develop a range of skills that would have been inaccessible before. The introduction of such learning resources as the Open University allows flexibility of learning, but I think we are only scratching the surface, and the speed that technology has excelled over the last few years has shown that.

 

Do you think pedagogy has changed dramatically since the introduction of mobile learning?

Yes – mobile learning has allowed teaching methods and the way teachers interact with students to change. I have never settled for one style of teaching; teaching is at a place now where it relies on innovation, creativity and it is time to move on from the structured, conveyor-belt style of lecturing. Technology has become a great leveller of social systems that can be reflected within schools. If someone can learn through a device without needing to physically attend a conventional institution, those devices can serve a great purpose. Alongside this, we need to explore how such devices can sit within the classroom and be a beneficial resource. When I recently did a talk with Bloomberg, I highlighted the importance of connections being built between people, both large conglomerates and individuals. Using social networking is in our nature as humans; we always want to be in touch and moving forward with connections but within education, social networking has not yet been explored. The important thing for teachers is to ensure the same mindset occurs when mobile learning is used within the classroom. If mobile learning is shown as a tool for reducing workloads rather than as a tool to unlock unlimited amounts of potential within students, I think the standard of teaching will dip and the experience will become almost independent study instead of collaborative learning.

 

With regards to recent political campaigns, what do you think of having a capped class size of 30 pupils?

I don’t think having 30 pupils per class will dramatically increase or decrease the impact of teaching. Obviously with smaller class sizes there will be more time designated to each pupil but with teaching methods evolving constantly to suit children’s learning styles and technological breakthroughs, a lot of learning can be completed peer-to-peer. One of the main issues stemming from teaching in schools are the staff measurement procedures. If the accountability structure is changed, then there is more room for creative learning and exciting techniques. With the current performance management and pay increments as a motivation for teachers (whereby teachers are set targets that are underpinned by salary), teachers can be fearful to think outside the box when in the classroom, as their livelihood depends on reaching certain targets. I’ve been lucky to be able to help a lot of teachers by informing them about game-changing teaching techniques and not just being dormant, waiting for retirement. Mobile learning and technology allows huge development, as I showcased when speaking on the global platform RSCON 5 (Reform Symposium Conference), about the importance of bringing education outside the classroom, inclusive of geographically remote locations.

 

To read about how KO-SU is working to bring education to geographically remote locations, click here to learn about the Educating Reena project.


To hear more about Mark’s passion for people, education and technology, follow him on Twitter (@Urban_Teacher) or read his blog http://urban-teacher.weebly.com/

Jack Andraka – EdTech in scientific research

Jack Andraka, cancer researcher, scientist, inventor and mathematician, gives an exclusive interview following BETT 2015, discussing the use of edTech within scientific research. He believes that technology within education will alter structures and reform contemporary teaching to incorporate edTech within everyday classrooms, not only assisting teachers but also enhancing learning abilities and the enjoyment of learning.

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Jack Andraka at BETT 2015 edTech convention in London

What inspired you to go into the scientific field of study?
Initially I was interested in science because I found it really fun, but then I chose to focus particularly on Biomedicine because a close family friend who was like an uncle to me passed away from pancreatic cancer. So with the disease so close to home, I wanted to learn more and see how to create a better sensor for cancer, because none of the current sensors were particularly successful – that is how I streamlined into cancer research, and here I am today continuing that research.

 

Would you be as interested in your research if technology was not at the capacity it currently is?
Absolutely – I would definitely still be interested in my field, because science is innately a human characteristic, it is all about being curious, and science relies on curiosity for researchers to make discoveries. So regardless of technology’s development, I would still want to help solve the world’s problems through science.

How do you feel having achieved so much at the young age of seventeen?
Sometimes it is really nice to hear all the wonderful things people say about my achievements but equally there are times when instead of being at the laboratory, I watch an entire TV series at home, and I think, I could be doing so many more productive things! Ultimately, I try to remember that life is all about balance, and I make time for both my prolific research, as well as spending time with my friends and behaving like an average seventeen year old. I manage to fit in my research around school and exams and learning to drive (I get my licence in two weeks!) andspending time with family, so although it isn’t always easy, it is important to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

How do you think the edTech community has developed compared to last year?
Being in education still myself, there were a number of things that sparked my interest at BETT. EdTech is always developing, but for me, Intel was a firm favourite – their stand and technology was really incredible. I think the best thing about edTech is seeing all the software and products that will really assist teachers, and when we look at combining edTech with current structures and how we teach science, it seems apparent that we are going to have an educational revolution.

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Jack Andraka Skyping our Content Writer, Elle Finn from Washington DC

 

What did you think of the Futures project at BETT 2015?
The exposure to new startup businesses is always a good thing, as you get to see new inspiration and see the direction edTech is moving towards – new businesses mean new technology and fresh ideas that can transform existing educational designs.

How do you think mobile learning can revolutionise learning and training?
Well, at the moment I only really use my phone to look at scientific articles but that is really the extent to which I use mobile technology to learn. As for our schools, we really don’t have anything like that available to students to use, so I think to have such interactive technology that can be taken with you anywhere, whilst learning and enjoying learning would be a huge revelation in terms of how we use technology within education. With such options as video, audio and drawing responses, I think students could really relate to the software or platform, and develop their learning as a result. KO-SU sounds really awesome, I would love to try and get my school to use your platform to make learning and teaching really interesting for our last semester!

What is the importance of technology within scientific research?
For my field of study, technology, especially access to the world wide web, has enabled familiarity of a topic that was inaccessible before. I am able to refine my expertise in pancreatic cancer due to the freely available articles, journals, academic essays and research, that ultimately comes from having access via mobile devices.

If you had a choice of any company to work with, who would you choose?
I don’t know that I would actually like to work for a corporation or company right now, although it could be an idea to begin my own startup company, I am also really interested in NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations). I suppose if I had to choose, Google is always a cool place to work but that is a long way off at the moment.

What are you working on at the moment using technology for detection?
I am currently working with NatGeo looking at bio-sensors to educate children within the environment. I am using inkjet printable bio-sensors where you can essentially print products out using an inkjet printer and then they will change colour in the presence of a contaminant or a biomarker, used for environmental monitoring. You can then use your phone to see the results and learn all about environmental resources and prevention of contamination, although I think there is a lot more we could do in connecting the physical activity with the mobile learning afterwards.

To read about the BETT 2015 convention, click here.

 

Post #BETT2015 – Where is edTech heading?

 

BETT 2015 was as thriving and engaging as ever at the Dockland ExCel Centre, exhibiting educational technological advIMG_1743ances from around the world and demonstrating the future of the edTech realm.

With such keynote speakers as Sir Ken Robinson, discussing how to creatively transform educational structures and methods, and Mike McGee, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Framestore, speaking on the importance of science and arts coexisting to create new technology, it was evident that creativity within the edTech world has taken a front seat, and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

 

Framestore

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Mike McGee – ‘It’s Not About Science Versus Arts’ speech

Mike McGee spoke of the production and technology used to create the epic Galaxy chocolate Audrey Hepburn advert, showing the hours of creative work that went into production, including tracking markers on the actress’ face (not just to match her polka dot dress!) that allowed tracking of the movement and rotations of “Audrey’s” head in three-dimension, to ensure a high resolution capture of the face. The skin texture was then used to generate a CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) facial version of Audrey, with a team of animators redefining her features to correlate to the actress’ face, keeping the moist areas, such as the eyes and lips, that belonged to the actress in the shot.

He further discussed Framestore’s work on the multi award-winning film, Gravity, showing how they had to invert cameras to gain certain angles of the actors to ensure a true likeness of body movements within space was achieved. He also anecdoted that Sandra Bullock was in such precarious and awkward positions, in order to make her shots realistic, they had to erase her leg from the shot and the CGI specialists had to refashion an entirely new limb for the scene!

Using these technological advances as examples, McGee highlighted the capacity for science and the arts to coexist and produce technological leaps for mankind (no pun intended…!) instead of the age-old rivalry: as his title suggests, it is not about science versus the arts, it is important for both category’s input to allow ultimate technological creation as the output.

 

EdTech Platforms

Unlike previous years, 2015 seemed to host less educational platforms, supporting various learning requirements, instead replaced with specific software capabilities for designated uses.

Although there were several captivating Mathematics-focused learning platforms, allowing SEN students the ability to engage with spreadsheet programs by pre-visualising equations and calculations, there were few platforms that particularly stood out in terms of their USP (Unique Selling Point).IMG_1790

The other platforms that were scattered around BETT, distributing numerous freebies and giving demonstrations, all seemed to be working towards the idea of alleviating the necessity for a teacher within a classroom, or at least attempting to designate sections of teaching and the curriculum to the platform software. While this may reduce elements of workload and stress for teachers, it is crucial for technology to become an integrated part of the curriculum that assists and works alongside teaching staff to greater develop children’s understanding and learning processes; not to diminish the optimal value of face-to-face teaching or the human interactions and exchanges entrenched in the composition of contemporary education.

It seems that without the collaborative nature seen in other platforms, and the encouragement of competitive principles, it begs the question, does this pseudo-teacher substitute benefit students’ learning experiences, or does it in fact give them a thirst for winning? Surely learning to enjoy, rather than learning to win is the most advantageous way to receive education and training, that results in a well-rounded, participative online community, with an endless path of discovery.

 

Robotics

Robotics were showcased in different shapes, sizes, developmental stages, colours and even genders! One brand that particularly caught our eye was Aldebaran Robotics, a Parisian company that has structured and built a functioning robot classroom companion called NAO (named after his operating system, NAOqi).

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IMG_1797With the ability to speak, dance, wave and catch small objects (among many other skills) NAO is an incredibly expressive medium for creating applications. Used in all levels of education, from primary schools to universities, NAO teaches programming in a fun and practical way, evolving with each behaviour, content and applications created for it.

This new age of robotics is already a favourite with students of all ages, as well as teachers and trainers, who see robotics as a new dimension, exploring accessible, extreme interactivity within the edTech world.

 

With the Tech Giants, Intel, Google, Apple and Microsoft illuminating their progress and creating a real vibrant buzz, smaller startups managed to maintain interest with giant bean bags, 3D printed chessboards and even a live CornSnake, wrapping itself around brave volunteers!

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Overall, BETT 2015 showcased some strong competitors and game-changing technology that will undoubtedly impact education and contemporary structures – until next year at least

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BETT Show: Education Game Changers

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Courtesy of BETT Show

Come along to the 2015 BETT Show (British Educational Training and Technology), in London from 21-24 January and meet the CEO of KO-SU, Gerlinde Gniewosz, and our new Content Writer, Elle Finn where they will answer your questions on mobile learning, educational resources and their latest investment round on CrowdCube; a platform that enables anyone to invest in KO-SU and join their online community. Contact us via Twitter (@kosuMobile), Facebook, Instagram (@kosu_mobile) or email with your questions, photos and your experiences with KO-SU technology!

With new additions compared last year’s BETT show, the enlarged dimensions will undoubtedly change the future of the edTech industry. One of the most prolific changes made to the show is the introduction of a new area to the show floor, that celebrates brave thinking, new products and ‘education game-changers’ in the form of edTech startup businesses. In BETT’s words, “Futures is the new, purpose built home for the world’s most inspiring ed-tech start-ups. Our expert panel selected the 30 edTech start-ups with the most innovative solutions to today’s classroom challenges.”

This development will dramatically impact the world of educational startups, especially the likes of KO-SU and our learning platform, as it allows exposure of products to one of the largest edTech audiences with an inspirational backdrop.

Also on the schedule are several BETT Summits, designed to assist with strategic development and adaptability to the ever-changing education landscape. Speaking this year will be three regenerative and stimulating education moguls; Jane Friswell (CEO of NASEN), David Hoare (Chairman of Ofsted) and Abdul Chohan (Director at ESSA Academy). They will be discussing this year’s targets for educational technology and how they can be achieved, focusing on the following:

  • Measurement and assessment
  • SEN (Special Educational Needs) changes in the curriculum
  • Closing the attainment gap
  • Business forum

By promoting recognition of these themes, the edTech community partnered with BETT can ensure that we work towards these targets together, using new mobile learning platforms as a springboard towards this success and evolution of learning.

Also attending and delivering a keynote session is Sir Ken Robinson, educational visionary, whose session, Out of our Minds, investigates the importance of learning to be creative, and challenging standardised educational reforms in favour of creative transformations within education.

Other recognisable attendees and speakers include Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education and Jack Andraka, scientist, cancer researcher and American inventor named by President Obama as a Champion of Change.

Considering the changes to this year’s BETT Show and the prestigious list of guest speakers, 2015 looks set to be a breakthrough year in education due to the creativity, innovation and forward-thinking of the edTech community and it’s startups.

To explore mobile learning platforms, head to www.ko-su.com to experience education in a revolutionary, new construction that supports the growing edTech industry.

Festive Launch Party

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KO-SU Launch Party

To end another great year at KO-SU and to celebrate our upcoming launch on CrowdCube, we invited everyone to our Festive Launch Party at our offices in East London. It was wonderful to meet some of KO-SU’s users, including foreign exchange students, voluntary teachers, charity support workers and university graduates.

CrowdCube

Educating Reena

One of our guest speakers, Edmund Bell-King represents the Climate Connected Benefit Society and they will be piloting the KO-SU platform as a key part of their upcoming Educating Reena pilot project, located in Nsange District, Malawi.
         As part of the Educating Reena Project, KO-SU’s platform will be delivered over a wireless mesh service to tablet devices issued to young girls who will attend a special micro school in rural areas. Unfortunately many of these girls are unable to attend school due to local climatic impacts, such local flooding that occurs frequently in their location. As flood waters can last from several weeks up to several months, climatic events can dramatically impair access to academic resources, particularly where rural-based students have to walk long distance to their school.
CrowdCube Launch party
KO-SU’s CrowdCube presentation

How does mobile learning affect this issue?

CCBS will build Wiki Study Huts, a flat-packed micro-school building that is solar-powered, in flood-safe areas near villages so that girls can still get access to their school curriculum via a wireless mesh service and tablets have KO-SU preloaded on their tablet devices.
          This was a fantastic opportunity for those who attended the launch event to see how KO-SU’s educational platform can directly impact a community and transform a seemingly intractable problem into one with a positive outcome and offers the promise of a brighter future for many Malawian children living in off-grid rural locations. Using KO-SU means that girls in geographically isolated areas and the financially constrained are able to continue with their education against the odds, and it is because of mobile learning that it has become possible.
KO-SU's Investor Launch Stollen goody bags
KO-SU’s Stollen goody bags
Party food
Refreshments available at the party

 

Also at the event was Bose Agbesanwia, a teacher and coordinator for Girls Brigade, who trialled KO-SU’s educational technology at the Christmas Launch Party and said that a platform like this will ‘change the face of education’ because of the interactivity amongst users and the technological era that we live in that facilitates KO-SU’s online community.

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Martin’s School Nomination for a year’s subscription to KO-SU
School nomination
Yemisi’s School Nomination for a year’s subscription to KO-SU

 

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Gerlinde’s secret family recipe German Stollen

 

It was a night to remember, as all our guests got an early introduction to Christmas (thanks to Gerlinde’s home-made German Stollen that disappeared within minutes!) and the KO-SU team got to meet users and saw how KO-SU’s    platform has impacted their educational experiences.

Investment in Mobile Learning for Education and Businesses

With over twenty years experience in global investment banking and CEO of Finnancial Consultancy Services Ltd, Mickey Finn is the ideal candidate to interview regarding investing in Educational Technology  (EdTech) startup businesses and his vision of mobile learning revolutionising both the corporate and educational industries. 

Mickey Finn, CEO of Finnancial Consultancy Services Ltd. and investment specialist, with CNBC's  'Squawk on the Street' at the New York Stock Exchange
Mickey Finn, CEO of Finnancial Consultancy Services Ltd. and investment specialist, with CNBC’s  ‘Squawk on the Street’ at the New York Stock Exchange

 

How do you imagine mobile learning would innovate young people and entrepreneurs?

The fact that a lot of entrepreneurs and investors are aware of the technological era we live in and the capabilities it possesses is beneficial, as mobile learning is a large part of tomorrow’s world; I think this is the technological direction that mobile learning is guiding businesses and education towards. It provides opportunities for training, learning and teaching to occur on a number of levels. In education, Western locations whereby education is a recognised benefit to society is a pinnacle for other remote locations that do not have the same infrastructures as the United Kingdom, United States or Europe. With this at the forefront of the technological advances, more remote and less privileged parts of the world can be given the chance to engage with distributed software and have the choice of engaging from a centralised location or on an individual basis. I truly believe mobile learning will become entrenched within society and is the future of both businesses and education.

 

Why is it so crucial for investors to contribute to a startup business?

It is crucial for the investors as there is more than one avenue to provide them with a happy return. Investors can find a company appealing in terms of how it operates and how it provides their service, which allows their investment to produce a positive return on their invested capital. If a business is particularly successful, the investor produces a proactive social impact by starting the next generation of small businesses and investor contribution, which allows a reliable reinforcement of their existing businesses and credibility.
Someone may also invest in a business because it compliments a business or asset they already have, so they may buy more and get a higher stake in the shares of a company because it is cohesive with their current projects. Alternatively, it can also work in favour of an investor’s differing existing assets and businesses, as it allows the investor to provide diversification of products and services.

 

What experience do you have in investments, startup businesses and the Young Enterprise Scheme?

I have been involved in investment banking for over twenty years, predominantly in the front office dealing with equities, investments and banking practices including compliance, account opening and supervision and control, so I have vast experience in banking. As for startup businesses, my role within investment banking also supported Initial Public Offerings (also known as IPOs), which is a procedure to raise the profile and capital of small companies by selling shares of the small company to a larger, more successful company (for example, I worked alongside Facebook as a high profile investor), that in turn sell these on to the general public. The Young Enterprise Scheme was introduced to me via one of my old firms, Merrill Lynch. I worked with young entrepreneurs on a philanthropy program to assist young children to learn about investment strategy and marketing to demonstrate how a business operates, including overhead costs versus revenue returns that enables children to view the importance of budgeting. I attended several schools, mostly in the East End of London, presenting in school assemblies and inside classrooms directly to allow a solid understanding and engagement with the students.

 

In your opinion, what contributes to a successful startup business?

Firstly, a necessity of a startup business is to have a solid business model, main objectives and an appropriate strategy. The business needs to have outset timelines that give direct signposts as to when certain projects will be completed, along with deliverable aims and objectives to ensure a route to success that disallows any potential deviation.

Secondly, successful management is required, inclusive of staffing and budgets to allow proliferation of content across a multitude of platforms in the most productive and wholesome way possible. As a manager, one needs to possess authority but also a keen understanding of individuals to ensure you get the best out of your staff. As for budgeting, it is necessary to manage finances in an effective way to continue the daily running of the business but also to delegate finances to specific projects that will provide maximum input from investors and users/customers.

Thirdly, investment and capitalisation are crucial to the continuation of a startup business. If a solid business model is secured and good management is used, then ultimately investment and capital should come as a consequence.

As for a passion in the business and an innovative product, it is difficult to encapsulate this in terms of monetary growth. The most comprehensive quote I have ever heard was: “Find a job you love, and you will never have to work in your life.”

 

What three qualities are beneficial for students to possess when taking part in a young entrepreneurs program?

A decent work ethic: an understanding of what the business is trying to achieve and therefore having an alliance with it, and being conducive to the business: and a sense of responsibility, such as punctuality, dressing suitably, taking work seriously and recognising when it is appropriate to engage with others. Success has an element of a well-structured, somewhat regimented approach that is accessed by having the above three qualities.

 

What ways are there for young entrepreneurs to engage with startup businesses?

Predominantly, the use of marketing. The ability for a small business to promote their brand and product, along with accentuating the business genre, role and name is a must; be prepared to invest your time, money and energy in the marketing strategy to allow maximum customer perception. If the product has not yet been released, or is a service rather than a physical enterprise, such as one that will revolutionise the way we use technology, there still needs to be recognition and brand awareness promoted beforehand. As I was told when I started in my career, you have to speculate to accumulate.

 

For more information on investment in mobile learning and startup businesses, attend our Christmas Launch Event to celebrate our latest investment round:
http://www.meetup.com/MobileLearning/events/219041267/

What role does technology play in education and mobile learning?

With the technological era we live in constantly expanding, education and learning experiences are developing and transforming as a result. With such a vast amount of access to content and educational resources, it is important to not become obsolete as facilitators, but to find a platform that can support and work alongside both teachers and learners to produce a more effective and impactful learning experience. With this in mind, the creators of KO-SU have examined how to turn this concept into a reality and illuminated the benefits that mobile learning (m-learning) can offer the educational community.

New Platforms

  • With new platforms becoming available for anybody to use, the capabilities of creating unique activities to learn through a mobile device is becoming increasingly easier. The innovative and interactive new platforms allows maximum learning to take place through the use of personalised activities, without having to be necessarily contained within a classroom, boardroom or office space.
  • Mobile learning is a global phenomenon, as the KO-SU team have discovered through its users that are distributed in over 140 different countries. Consequently, any mobile learning technology ought to support the creation of activities in a multitude of languages whether it be in English, Arabic, Chinese or even Thai. If a technology can support multiple languages it can then open up a worldwide exchange of cultures, knowledge and linguistics, e.g. the potential to be used for inter-school exchange programs, business growth and even client onboarding.

Mobile Learning Technology

  • M-learning is the next generation of learning technology. There are various components to the structure of digital learning, some that feature around website-based work and others that reflect the nature of the small screen, such as tablets and smartphones. Websites can be used for the creation of interactive learning activities for mobile learning, with an app used for activity completion. This structure allows mobile learning and technology to become accessible for any teacher, trainer or student, at any time or place.
  • Having a user-friendly interface is crucial. Very few teachers or trainers have the time to become programmers in order to create mobile learning apps.. M-learning platforms like KO-SU allow immediate initiation with the interactive experience without the need to possess a PhD in Computer Programming to get started!
  • Supporting both iOS and Android technology is a minimum if m-learning is to be technological suitable for today’s generation. It is through the use of handheld devices and group collaboration that m-learning functions most effectively, but even if you do not have a smartphone or tablet, online simulators allow you to create activities that all users can access to ensure equality, regardless of situation.

M-learning in Education and Training

  • Mobile technology is often incorporated into a blended learning approach, rather than attempting to replace the teacher: to work alongside the facilitator, whether that be within education or businesses, to enhance both the learning and teaching experience. Dr Hend Khalil, a Language Lecturer at British University in Egypt, impresses upon young people the foundational nature that mobile learning possesses, stating: ‘Innovation and learning go hand-in-hand. I never teach the same way twice and I have to come up with new ideas to satisfy the students, especially when they are all so interested in technology. That is why I am so interested in mobile learning.’
  • M-learning changes the face of education through the association with the technical generation. The technical capabilities and the influential nature mobile learning has allows educational proliferation of content via an exciting, alternative medium. The instantaneous receipt of feedback and support is widely acknowledged as very important, allowing for maximum learning intake and active engagement with tailor-made activities.
  • Mobile learning allows development of training within businesses without the necessity of simultaneously grouping together a multitude of users into a single location or office.
  • M-learning allows peer-to-peer learning that enables full engagement and creativity from users. Meli Glenn, an Educational Consultant, discusses the role of student engagement with learning: ‘Peer-to-peer learning allows children to achieve control over their own creations and a higher level of engagement by working together in a very different way’. The ability to learn on any mobile device in any spare time regardless of location is also an incredibly positive attribute, as it allows learning to become captivating, communal and fun!

As you can see, there are numerous benefits exhibited by m-learning that can dramatically impact the educational and business aspect of learning, teaching and training. Through the use of technology, it is possible to see the potential for communities to grasp learning ideologies as a unit, and assist one another via instant access, support and feedback in a way that has not been seen before. It is due to technology that learning now has a way forward that has the potential to change teaching and learning for years to come.

 

If you want to hear more from the KO-SU team and our global vision based around m-learning, head to http://youtu.be/gZA3iAjqYik to see how our platform is being used around the world.

 

Mobile learning
Mobile devices opening up the possibilities to learn

Mobile App used as a Museum Guide in Cyprus

Researchers, Burcu Turan and Hafize Keser, at the Near East University in Cyprus have been investigating the use of a mobile app as a museum guide to the university’s Classical Car Museum.  It is a useful case study on what does and doesn’t work with regards to employing mobile technology in a museum context.

Visitor Questionnaire

They had a number of visitors to the museum answer a questionnaire with the following questions:

  1. What are the features that satisfy you on the Mobile museum guide application?
  2. What aspects have difficulty using a mobile museum guide application?
  3. Do you think the implementation of the museum guide application required in all museums?
  4. How did you feel using Mobile Museum Guide application on your visit?
  5. What do you think about visual materials on mobile museum guide?
  6. What do you think about auditory materials on the mobile museum guide?
Museum Guide Mobile App Screenshots
Museum Guide Mobile App Screenshots

 

Findings for Mobile Museum Guides

Some of the key findings of this case study research were:

  • Visitors preferred to listen rather than read text.  They felt it increased their understanding.
  • Around half of visitors admitted that without the application, they would have left the museum without knowing the particulars about the cars
  • Multi-language support is extremely important and appreciated
  • Clear majority of visitors felt that similar mobile apps should be developed for all tourist attractions, historical sites and educational museums.
Visitor Using Museum Guide App
Visitor Using Museum Guide App

This case study supports the previous research that shows that mobile technology can support the learning and understanding, as well as improving the engagement, for museum visitors.

The full article “Museum Guide Mobile App: The Case of the Near East University Classical Car Museum” can be read online.

 

 

 

 

Educational Microcontent

Researchers Marcia Izabel Fugisawa Souza and Sergio Ferreira do Amaral in Brazil have been looking at the development of educational microcontent for mobile learning virtual environments.  They have now published an article that outlines a model to guide the production of education microcontent, based on theoretical and concept research in the areas of Pedagogy, Communication and Semiotics.

Production processes of educational microcontent - PEM Model
Production processes of educational microcontent – PEM Model

 

Pedagogical Process Architecture

“The concept of pedagogical architecture has been applied in distance education, particularly in the design and development of learning objects. The pedagogical architecture consists of organizational, instructional, methodological and technological elements, which maintains a close relationship between them. From the point of view of methodological representation of PEMs, starts producing educational microcontent from the establishment of pedagogical architecture, which reflects the main stages that comprise the teaching-learning process.”

Architecture Process of Languages

“This process highlights the actions of the production of educational microcontent involving semiotic aspects, such as languages, matrices of language and thought. Also, as mentioned in the previous process, the architecture of languages sought to synthesize, and at the same time, to represent in the form of flows the concepts and theoretical aspects highlighted in the conceptual and analytical nuclei.

It is an arduous task given the need to materialize in microcontent, analysis object in question, the main points discussed in the proposed model, such as teaching, languages and semiotic aspects of hypermedia, restrictions in relation to digital media (mobile devices), as well as compliance with the technical requirements of informatics. A multidisciplinary team, with the indispensable participation of the teacher (content expert), the instructional designer, and computer technician, should perform this activity.

After developing the prototype it is time to test the microcontent, a task that should be performed in a simulated situation, i.e., prior to the effective use of learning object. The testing phase should last as long as errors and problems persist. The next question to answer is whether the prototype meets the established requirements. If not, return to the immediately preceding activity and repeat the aforementioned procedure. Completed the tests, i.e., corrected the errors and problems, conclude the production phase of the educational microcontent.

Thereafter, the microcontent can be used in mobile learning. This is the end of the methodology, which comprises the processes of production of educational microcontent.”

 

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Trust in M-Learning Technology

Researchers from the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia have been exploring the factor of trust in m-learning technology. They specifically looked at and evaluated two sets of factors that contribute towards trust: those that build trust and those that sustain trust.

Building Trust

Familiarity – the application is well known and used fluently

Feasibility – the m-learning application is technically acceptable in terms of compatibility and specfication

Information Quality – the information provided in the m-learning application is supervised and has value

3rd Party Recognition – the m-learning application is accepted and has been authorized by another organisation

Attractive Rewards – includes some sort of apprectiation to the users

Goal Setting – the usage of the m-learning application is clearly known

Rules – the m-learning application has rules and regulations that are well enforced

Interaction – the m-learning application is able to perform multiple forms of communication

 

Sustaining Trust

Integrity – quality of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations or outcomes

Community Building – the m-learning application is able to develop virtual relationships between users and administrators

External Auditing – the m-learning application is reviewed by an authoritative organization

Site Quality – some sort of additional premium factors

Security Control – the m-learning application includes countermeasures to avoid or minimize security risks

Open Communication – the m-learning application allows for transparency of communication

Consistency – standardization, stability and uniformity in actions, methods, principles and outcomes

Reliability – dependability between methods or users

Time – the m-learning application is recognized as an up-to-date disseminator of information

 

To read further about their research, click here for the full article.