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Enhancing Distance Learning through M-Learning approaches in the Southern African Context Jon Gregson and Paul Smith Imperial College London, Wye Campus.

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing Distance Learning through M-Learning approaches in the Southern African Context Jon Gregson and Paul Smith Imperial College London, Wye Campus."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing Distance Learning through M-Learning approaches in the Southern African Context Jon Gregson and Paul Smith Imperial College London, Wye Campus Distance Learning Programme

2 Africa Context: Internet bandwidth Ref: IDRC Acacia Project

3 Africa Context: GSM Coverage Ref: IDRC Acacia Project Source for maps that follow (unless separately referenced): Coverage trends noted: Increasing rapidly Mainly around major routes And towns and cities Competition exists in most countries

4 Learning Moments? Opportunities for study ?A bad day for exams… The relevance of context, access and the profile of the learners Unpredictable contexts…how can mobile learning help our students ?

5 Mike Matsimbe (Malawi) Project Manager within sugarcane company

6 Rex Chapkota (Malawi) Project officer with Care International / World Vision

7 Emmy Patroba (Tanzania) Research Scientist

8 Emmanuel Kitwala (Tanzania) Project Officer with World Food Programme

9 Current Situation Face to face workshops Problematic Computer access Good Internet Availability Difficult… At work… At cybercafe ICT Literacy Rated very good Mobile phones: YES Mobile Learners ? Well not yet… Where do you do most of your studying ? 1 At home 2 In the office 3 Whilst travelling, e.g during field visits How much time annually do you spend out of the office, e.g. doing field work ? Never21-4 weeks months 18More than 3 months 13

10 Technical Overview Nokia N70 Phone Selected and Trialled By students in Malawi and Tanzania. Aim to avoid device proliferation Communication via Bluetooth, and files Transferred between DLP and student Via the Internet GPRS and 3G not yet widely available At affordable rates Content being developed using XHTML MP, making use of Nokia Mobile Internet Toolkit and SDKs, and Dreamweaver. Video and audio format conversion using Nokia Software Suite, and basic X-OOM and Magix Products

11 Approaches Year One: Working with a small team of students Context, infrastructure, technology and ICT literacy Year Two: Working with 20 students on 2 modules Designing alternative content Developing activity based learning Exploring tutoring (including Regional Tutoring and Support) making use of the mobile

12 General Resources Project Background Introduction to tutors and project team Interviews Getting started with the Nokia N70 –Some activities to try out and submit to the tutor Further study resources: e.g. related to study skills

13 Subject Matter: Rural Development Nature of content –Tells a story and easier to narrate –Quite a lot of basic facts to grasp –Lends itself well to essay writing Approaches being tested –Audio narrative –Quick quizzes –Activities –Videos Defining Rural Development Audio

14 Subject Matter: ICT for Development Nature of content –Mix of Technical and Descriptive content –Animations –Difficult to narrate Approaches being tested –Introduction videos and conversations with author –Alternative multi media content –Redesigning TMA into a series of activities followed by submission of a portfolio

15 From TMA to Mobile Learning Activities Learning activities, and assignments, that encourage students to make use of their phone’s multimedia capabilities, and submit short videos, audio files and images back to the DLP Use of Mobile Blogs, Photos, Video, Audio (e.g. interviews) and designed to demonstrate a range of study skills First ‘Mobile Assignment’ based around tasks and activities that explore the main themes of the text Students can contribute learning resources and share these among themselves, which is especially valuable given that the DLP has approximately 1000 students in over 100 countries

16 Tutoring Current Approach –OLE –E-Digests –Online Q&A New Approaches –Improved interaction between tutor and student, for example by making simple multimedia versions of e- digests –Regional Tutor making use of phone and text messaging, and scope for question specific audio or video responses

17 Research Supervision One Student in Malawi Contact with supervisor – encouragement Scope for exchange of ideas via images, audio and video –Asynchronous since real time contact would be very difficult and expensive Administrative coordination and monitoring

18 Summary of Lessons we hope to learn in relation to the developing country context Where best to focus development of course content for mobile learning How to enhance tutoring where students have mobile phones How an activity based approach can be used to support learning How research projects can be supported via mobile technologies What use a regional tutor can make of mobile technologies that would supplement the regular tutoring


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