Well it’s been a while since my last post; sooo busy! With school starting again on Monday (Semester 2) it’s also time to re-evaluate what research I’d like to focus on for the rest of the year. I figure that if I write down my intentions, I’ve got a better chance of making at least some progress…
My two main areas of focus at the moment are:
- Instructional design
- Mobile learning
This will involve reflecting on my Blackboard courses in terms of:
- How courses are constructed in terms of content areas / Blackboard tools used etc
- How students are guided through a Blackboard course
- What learning resources are available for students, especially resources for self-study prior to exams
Given that my classes are face-to-face with Blackboard courses in addition to this, the questions I’ll be looking to answer is how do my Blackboard courses support student learning AND what are the current weaknesses in my courses and how can the courses be improved as a result.
I have 7 courses in total, so think I may focus on the development of one course in particular – Year 11 IGCSE ICT. I’m sure lessons gained here can be transferred to other courses in time.
Mobile Learning (mLearning)
Last year one of my colleagues did some great work converting PowerPoint presentations and StudyMate quizzes to mobile platforms, specifically for iPods. All my students have at least one of the following gadgets, which could be used for mLearning resources:
- iPod (original, nano or touch)
- iPhone (or a similar smartphone)
With the advent of Apple’s iPad (still waiting for the official launch in New Zealand though!!), there are so many devices that could be used as platforms for learning resources. One reason I’m particularly keen on this area is because these are resources that could be used offline. I have students who do not always have access to the Internet at weekends or holidays, so resources on Blackboard are not available to them. It seems crazy to place all our eggs in the same basket re. availability of digital resources when many students have easy access to devices that can be used for more than one purpose.
I can’t wait for the iPad to be released in NZ. I’m intrigued with it at a personal level because I’d like an eReader. It’s a pity that Steve Jobs has such an aversion to Adobe Flash, but still, from an educational standpoint, the iPad may have huge potential for student learning.