Mobility and learning
This next week should be a very interesting one. On Saturday I will be accompanying 70 Geography students and their teachers to Thailand to examine how mobile technologies and tools can support learning in places without and internet connection.
We will be using the software developed as part of a collaboration between institutions in Hong Kong (http://www.cite.hku.hk/people/dkennedy/mToken/). Hong Kong is a fabulous place to look at the issues of mobility and learning with broadband almost ubiquitous, but what happens when you need communication between mobile computers and devices for students to share data, collaborate and communicate? The mToken system allows a LAN to be set up either on a notebook computer or a campus facility.
So, I have loaded the open-source LMS Moodle, the mToken block and the mobile eToken system onto my notebook computer, attached a wireless router and voila - instant LAN in the middle of nowhere. We will even be using it at lunchtimes between sessions for the students to upload their data to the server while sitting around the bus (to prevent data loss). The wireless LAN I am using even plugs into a 12/24v socket in the bus.
The students have many tasks to complete using a range of applications that operate on smart phones (e.g., a simple counting tool called iCount that enables any set of items to be counted and then saved as a .cvs file).
My colleagues and I will be looking at how it all goes in the field. Hopefully nothing will break!