IPad/Mobile Learning Strategies: iLearn, iPractice, and iEvaluate



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iPad/Mobile Learning Strategies: iLearn, iPractice, and iEvaluate
Divonna M. Stebick, Ph.D., Chloe Ruff, M.Ed., & Rachel West ‘14, Gettysburg College

Abstract

While some educators have stepped very gingerly into the waters of educational technology, others have been willing to take risks and explore the possibilities. For example, Larson (2010) reports a study of the use of the Kindle in a second grade classroom. She explained how the features of the digital reading device enabled students to customize their reading experience by changing font size, for example. The students read in more comfortable physical positions compared to reading on desk computers or laptops. Moreover, the Kindle allowed them to deepen their comprehension by making notes in the text and utilizing the audio-enhanced dictionary.



Researchers have investigated using technology within an education setting for decades (Rhodes & Milby, 2007). Commercially developed programs, e-books often with text-to-speech, and computerized learning games all have research to document their varying degrees of effectiveness (Balajthy, 2007; Hasselbring & Goin, 2004; Moody, 2010). But as new technologies become available, we need to thoughtfully consider how we can use technology to help students acquire content as well. Most often it is educators trying technology in their classrooms who then provide leadership and direction to research (Leu et al., 2004). Such seems to be the case with the iPad. As educators of “digital natives” in a dynamic society, we are charged to identify the most efficient system to support students’ acquisition of content in a thoughtful, critical way.

During this yearlong action research project, pre-service teachers use iPads for their own educational needs as full-time undergraduate students at a liberal arts institution, as well as, as pre-service teachers working with kindergarten through grade twelve students in local school settings. Data, including students’ reflections from three different settings; Hot Apps 4 HOTS (iBook) online book discussion, app usage and ratings, and data from apps used as interventions will be shared.

Literature Review
The ability to learn within one’s own context when on the move in time and space is arguably the central learning affordance of mobile technologies, and it is vital that this idea is captured in any definition of mobile learning (Melhuish & Falloon, 2010). M-learning is defined as just-in-time, situated learning, mediated through digital technology in response to the needs of the user (Traxler, 2009; Laurillard, 2007; Peng, Su, Chou, & Tasi, 2005). However, what makes m-learning different from other forms of assistive technology learning is the way it can mediate and facilitate learning experiences (Peters, 2009) for at-risk students “in the moment” when facilitated by a trained individual. These learning experiences are critical to capture in an optimal learning environment for students (Jenkins, Klopfer, Squire, & Tan, 2003), since the individuals negotiate meaning for themselves in a differentiated context (Melhuish & Falloon, 2010). Melhuish and Falloon (2010) recommend five distinct affordances for using iPads within an educational setting for students: portability, affordable and ubiquitous access, situated, ‘just-in-time’ learning opportunities, connection and convergence, and individualized and personalized experiences. Certainly all 21st century educators are keenly aware of technology in the educational setting. Very early in the new century, Leu and colleagues (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004) brought to our attention how the new technologies have come to redefine literacy in school, work, and home. They believe that information and communication technologies (ICTs) are the most critical for schools to be concerned with. Interestingly, they also point out that these technologies are difficult to define because they change so rapidly. Indeed, the iPad did not exist when their article was written, but it certainly qualifies as an ICT.

Goals and Objectives
It would be most helpful if participants who attend this session have some knowledge and minimum experience with how an iPad works. During the session the presenters will share how apps were introduced to the undergraduates, how the apps were rated and how the data from the iBook chats fueled the iPad usage on campus and within the school settings. The Peer Learning Associate (undergraduate student who took the course in a previous semester) will share reflective anecdotes to demonstrate the essence of the study from the perspective of the collegiate. The instructor will share data to show the implications this study has on learning in multiple settings; campus as well as in K-12 settings. Therefore, by the end of the session, the participants will be able to use the recommended tools, apps, and action research format for their own needs.


Description of Practice
In order to capture the essence of learning that occurs via the pre-service teacher as well as the kindergarten-grade twelve users, an action research framework was used. The researchers framed this action research using a “learning – practice – evaluation cycle.” Early in the study, participants completed a questionnaire to share their personal experiences of using an iPad. Furthermore, data from the eight synchronous chats has been collected, coded, and analyzed in order to identify trends and support for the questionnaire research. At the end of the semester-long action research project, participants shared their reflective thoughts considering the impact of learning in the college setting as well as the impact of learning in a K-12 setting. These reflections will be shared through the lenses of the Peer Learning Associate and the instructor.

Discussion

This innovative practice explored how mobile learning strategies can be implemented in a pre-service teacher preparation program at a liberal arts college. Questions to include during the discussion of this practice session include:



  • How does mobile learning impact the learning culture in undergraduate courses at a liberal arts institution?

  • How does mobile learning impact the learning culture in K-12 classrooms?

  • What social technologies are available and useful for undergraduate students? How can social technologies be used most effectively in our college classrooms? In our K-12 classrooms?

  • What is the pedagogical impact of social technologies and mobile learning within our college classrooms as well as the k-12 classrooms?


Selected References
Apple, Inc. (2011) iPad. Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/ipad/

Balajthy, E. (2007). Using text-to-speech software with struggling readers. College Reading Association Yearbook 28, 364-370.

Hasselbring, T. S., & Goin, L. I. (2004). Literacy instruction for older struggling readers: What is the role of technology? Reading & Writing Quarterly, 20, 123-144.doi: 10.1080/10573560490262073

Jenkins, H., Klopfer, E. Squire, K. & Tan, P. (2003). Entering the education arcade. ACM Computers in Entertainment, 1(1).

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.

Larson, L. C. (2010). Digital readers: The next chapter in e-book reading and response. The Reading Teacher, 64, 15-22. doi:10.1598/RT.64.1.2

Laurillard, D. (2007). Pedagogical forms for mobile learning. In N. Pachler (Ed.), Mobile learning: Towards a research agenda. London: WLE Centre, Institute of Education.

Leu, D. J., Kinzer, C. K., Coiro, J. L., & Cammack, D. W. (2004). Toward a theory of new literacies emerging from the Internet and other information and communication technologies. In R. B. Ruddell & N. Unrau (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading (5th ed., pp. 1570-1613). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Melhuish, K. & Falloon, G. (2010). Looking to the future: M-learning with the iPad. Computers in New Zealand Schools: Learning, Leading, Technology, 22(3).

Moody, A. (2010). Using electronic books in the classroom to enhance emergent literacy skills in young children. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 11(4), 22-52.

Oppenheimer, T. (2003). The flickering mind: False promise of technology in the classroom and how learning can be saved. Toronto, Canada: Random House.

Peng, H., Su, Y., Chou, C. & Tsai, C. (2009). Ubiquitous knowledge construction: mobile learning re-defined and a conceptual framework. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 46(2), 171–183.

Peters, K. (2009). M-learning: Positioning educators for a mobile, connected future. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning: Transforming the delivery of education and training. Vancouver: Marquis Book Printing. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120155/ebook/99Z_Mohamed_Ally_2009- MobileLearning.pdf

Rhodes, J. A., & Milby, T. M. (2007). Teacher-created electronic books: Integrating technology to support readers with disabilities. The Reading Teacher, 61, 255-259. doi: 10.1598/RT.61.3.6

Sharples, M. (2007). Big issues: Report of a workshop by the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence. University of Nottingham.

Tatum, K. (2010, August 30.) 21st Century Classroom: Swink. Oklahoma News Report, Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. http://www.oeta.tv/component/video/908.html



Traxler, J. (2009). Current state of mobile learning. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning: Transforming the delivery of education and training. Vancouver: Marquis Book Printing. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120155/ebook/ 99Z_Mohamed_Ally_2009-MobileLearning.pdf



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