Mobile and Connected Learning Statement

Our reflection topic for the week was to discuss how we use mobile devices and how it might impact education in the near future.  Personally, I haven’t used a phone or table much for higher education yet as I have a greater trust in my trusty laptop with its bigger screen and full keyboard.  I’m not ready to completely dive in with a tablet yet but I’ve dipped my toe in the water, so to speak.  I’m finding some applications are much more productive with a touch screen. I also found accessing my Coursera MOOC to be great on my phone as I can watch videos anytime and anywhere.  I guess one of these days, I’ll have to throw caution to the wind and dive in.

In talking with a few friends and colleagues, it seems that most of us have a similar approach to how we use our mobile technology, in particular our smart phone.  The great thing about it is we always have it with us and with it comes immediate access to information.  As noted by John Cox (NetworkWorld 2010), immediate access to information keeps things moving forward.  I’m constantly searching for how to videos on my phone.  My dealer wanted to charge me $250 to change 2 air filters in my car recently.  Fortunately, I was able to find out how to do it myself on YouTube.  Final cost?  $20 and 5 minutes of my time.   I’m not the only one either.  I went to help my brother put up a chain link fence the other weekend and found him outside watching a how to video on YouTube.   Still, as I think about Bloom’s Taxonomy in how we use mobile technology, I realize that most of us are still at the lower levels where we use it to assist with understanding and applying but not much on creation yet.

I believe that mobile technology will play a vital role in higher education due to its ability to increase connections between people.  During the early implementation of online technology at UH, a few adventurous souls dove in and created 100% online degree programs.  However, a few years later, many of them switched over to a hybrid model.  Why?  Students complained about a lack of connection to the instructor, to their colleagues, and to the University as a whole.  As noted by Diana Oblinger (Educause 2013), “Learners are connected.  They connect with other students, faculty, advisors…”.  Mobile technology can help create these connections.  I had taken an online class in 2004 where we posted comments to an online discussion board.  Worst class of my life.  Mobile technology was nowhere near what it is now and it felt like a chore to be anchored to my desktop posting comments to students who I felt little connection to.  Fast forward to 2014 and I feel much more connected to our classmates.  I know more about some of them then I did about classmates I sat next to in a physical class setting.  Seeing the tweets and pictures posted by them provide opportunities to find out more about them and help to create a sense of community that is vital to the success of online programs.

Finally, my three favorite apps are:

Calendar app-  This built in app helps to keep me on schedule by synching with a shared google calendar.

You Tube-  Nothing like a quick how to video before getting started on a project.

Google maps- Another app that gets me where I need to go, whether I’m driving or on the Bus.

References

Cox, J. (2010, March 23). Can the iPhone Save Higher Education? Retrieved from http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/032310-iphone-higher-education.html?page=3

Oblinger, D., (2013, March/April). Higher education in the connected age. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM1324.pdf

Flipping a Classroom

ImageIn considering the flipped classroom, I have two perspectives that I’d like to share:  that as a potential student and that of a parent of a student.

As a potential student, I think I’d appreciate a flipped classroom.  I’ve never been a fan of sitting through lectures and have always felt that it was a waste of time to have an instructor talk at me for an hour in a one sided affair (World History anyone?).  I recall a physics professor who practically read from the textbook in class.  As a result, I tuned out in many of these classes, often choosing to read the textbook in class at my pace rather than listen to the professor.  The concept of being able to watch short videos at my own pace and at a time of my choosing along with being able to re-watch sections that didn’t make sense.   Spending the time in class to go over particularly difficult concepts or working in small groups seems to be a much better use of time.

As the parent of a student, I would love being able to see what was being taught to my child.  Too often I find myself trying to recall content material from decades ago in trying to help them with their work.  I find myself wondering who is really teaching my child, me or the classroom teacher.  With the flipped class, I could watch along with my child and my child could then formulate questions to be asked in class rather than asking me.

The key to all of this, though, seems to be selecting appropriate courses to flip and finding or training teachers to do so.  My favorite statement from the readings that rings true is “Bad pedagogy is bad pedagogy whether it’s flipped or not.”  Many of the articles point out that the flipped classroom is not a magic bullet but rather another tool.  When utilized properly, it’s a fantastic tool leading to teacher job satisfaction and improved student attitudes towards learning.  I think it’s important to consider some of Dr. Eric Mazur’s research on learning.  In particular, a successful instructor is one who prepares to teach material in class that the class doesn’t understand rather lecture over material that they do understand.    When combined with Alfie Kohn’s argument that student’s get little value out of homework, I think the flipped classroom makes even more sense.  Get rid of homework.  Provide content or direction for student inquiry at home.  Let teachers really teach in the classroom rather than reading to students.  Sounds like a winning approach to me!

Waters, A. (2012, November 28). Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: The Flipped Classroom. Hack Education. Retrieved from http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/11/28/top-ed-tech-trends-of-2012-flipped-classroom/

Graham, E. & Walker, T. (2013, March 29), What ‘Flipped’ Classrooms Can (and Can’t) Do for Education. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2013/03/29/what-flipped-classrooms-can-and-cant-do-for-education/

November, A. & Mull, B. (2012, March 29). Flipped Learning: A Response To Five Common Criticisms. Retrieved from http://novemberlearning.com/resources/articles/flipped-learning-a-response-to-five-common-criticisms-article/