Being on the move no longer stops us from staying connected, which is something that most of us appreciate, or even expect, these days. We stay in touch with friends and family, but we can also learn and work any time anywhere. ‘Learning on the go’ is what I was reading about when waiting for my car at the garage last week. To prepare for our second TELL session I had decided to take Going Mobile 1, a book I bought after teaching the first TELL course last year in order to reread the main part.
Since the car repair took even longer than expected and having brought my devices, I actually combined reading with experimenting and I even started writing this blog at the garage. One of the apps I really liked and actually mentioned to my first year students today, is Dragon Dictation, a great ‘speech to text’ app, which can be very useful for my Phonetics class in the future. Students can work on their pronunciation by reading and recording a text, which will then be shown on screen. Since the garage was quite noisy (and provided wifi) I could easily try it out myself. It is amazing at how well the app recognises your speech, although it sometimes missed words (and yes, I was reading at a slow pace…, okay…, the second time. Really!). I think this app is a good example of using technology to enhance the learning, which cannot be done individually as well without this app. This seems a clear learning benefit of it. I think students will also like trying their pronunciation in this safe individual way, so it will also add motivation to working on their pronunciation.
Of course I also checked some apps that we could use during this TELL and Teaching course, but I will save these for class. I was clearly multitasking – not advisable, mind you – but I was definitely ‘learning on the go’. What I like about that is the fact that I killed at least two birds with one stone: my car was being serviced and I entertained myself by combining work and play, in a way. As it was also our holiday week, it felt like I did not HAVE to get a specific amount of work done, so whatever I did was a bonus. This is the reason I allowed myself to multitask. Being mobile makes working / learning on the go more versatile in that you have more options: more material is available and more applications can be used.
However, is being mobile with your devices the same as learning mobile? Nicky Hockley and Gavin Dudeney in their book present Mark Pegrum’s three categories of mobile learning:
- Learning that takes place when the devices are mobile
- Learning that takes place when the learners are mobile
- Learning that takes place when the learning is mobile
It is clear that what we aim for in this TELL course is the latter: “integration between what happens inside and outside the classroom, and a link between learning content and experiences and learning opportunities outside the classroom. Learners will have opportunities to work with real-world content, to incorporate parts of their normal lives and to interact with the environment around them.” (Hockley & Dudeney, 2014, ). This way teachers and students can use the benefits of our increased mobility the most. This is therefore much more than I was doing when my devices were mobile and so was I!
If you are not sure about this integrated or blended approach (yet), the best way to find out is to explore it some more and possibly experience it yourself. We do want you to experiment with technology as much as possible, especially in this course. The main reason to do so is of course to learn to discover the added value of using technology (or not) in different meaningful ways. Another good reason to try somethign else is to give you something to write about in your blog. Have you already made a TELL blog yet and have you started on your first weekly post? You can do it, mobile or not, start now (wherever you are)!
1 Hockly, N. & Dudeney, G. (2014) Going mobile, Teaching with hand-held devices. Delta Teaching Development Series. Delta Publishing.