Welcome to the first blog post of Places, a new JISC Transformations Programme project being carried out at University of Leicester. There are different strands to the Transformations Programme projects. Places will be studying, within the strand of enhanced student experience, the use of iPads in several University of Leicester programmes — most notably, in the Criminology Masters in Security, Conflict, and International Development. In this distance learning programme, every student is sent an iPad and is given instructions to download a custom-made app for the course. Students taking part in this programme are located anywhere in the world, and often in conflict zones. We thought ‘Places’ would be an appropriate project name, highlighting the ‘anywhere’ affordance of mobile technology in learning.
The first stage of the project is to examine the literature and learn from mobile-technology-in-learning projects that have gone before us. I am reading the final reports of JISC projects such as iBorrow, in which students could borrow laptops short-term for learning in the library at Canterbury Christ Church University, and also Project Erewhon at University of Oxford, which investigated the uses of geo-spacial and mobile computing in both higher and further education.
Of course, we will be very much informed by our own DUCKLING project which ran from 2008 through 2010, and which studied amongst other innovations the use of ebook readers as a course material delivery device for distance masters students. I was learning technologist on DUCKLING, and saw close-up the difficulties and successes of the approach, from the points of view of both staff and students. I am very much looking forward to similarly evaluating the use of iPads in our criminology and other programmes.
I created a Mendeley group called MobileLearn HE in which I’m gathering reports, journal articles, case studies, and blog posts on this topic. The group is public and I welcome you to join in. Please suggest case studies and papers you know of, on the topic of mobile learning in HE. Or suggest a case study or example via the comments below!
Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow, University of Leicester