Notes from September 20th Mobile Learning Work Group

Our third open meeting (third Tuesday of every month at 4pm) was another great conversation about how mobile technologies are influencing (or not) the way we work, teach, and learn.

Mark your calendar as our next meeting is Tuesday, October 18, at 4:00 pm.  For that meeting we have invited special guest Mitch Winnick, President and Dean of the Monterey College of Law, which recently went all iPad. Read up on their pilot program here.

In attendance this month were: Navindra Gunawardena (IPS/NPTS), Sarah Springer (DLC/CALL), Mike Garnett (ESL), Adrienne Stacy (ESL), Jennifer Grode (ESL), Gus Leonard (Special Guest from CSUMB), Christopher Hurtado (NPTS), Bob Cole (DLC), Patricia Szasz (ESL), Katie Dutcher (ESL).

Gus Leonard talks about AirSketch

We invited special guest, Gus Leonard the Language Lab Coordinator from CSUMB, to come and share with us his experience with mobile tools in language learning.  He had some interesting insights about the administration of multiple iPads and their respective “apps,” specifically mentioning issues involved in buying multiple copies of apps.  Apple does have a program to buy apps and give codes out, a system for managing licenses for apps for multiple iPads and this may be a solution for ESL at MIIS.  Gus suggested that we follow up with Apple’s regional sales representative, Dane Riley, to learn more.   Gus also suggested that administrators managing larger number of iPads (20 or more) be aware that there is special education pricing available for bulk purchase of app licenses. Not all developers are aware of this, so it’s always good to ask about discount pricing.

Gus mentioned that one of his favorite apps is AirSketch, a screen sharing app that allows the user to wirelessly project a document via IP address to another computer.  The app conveniently works with Dropbox to open files. It runs for $9.99.

When asked about the use of mobile tech for teaching at CSUMB, Gus mentioned that there are about twenty-five iPads in circulation for faculty to experiment with and for student to rent through CSUMB’s TechRent store.  Clickers and classroom texting have become popular in the sciences for on the fly surveys and polls.

He also noted that the Japanese program at CSUMB has been using a predecessor of the smartphone and tablet called the iPaq PDA.  These have been popular for learning characters, for dialogues (listening and recording). If funding can be secured the language labs will likely move to iPads, though they would hold off for the 3rd generation models which may be coming out later this year.

App Sharing in Context

The group can’t help but mix in references to apps that have really made a difference in daily work habits. Thanks to Katie we have also assembled a public spreadsheet listing apps that we have talked about.  You can review that spreadsheet and contribute to it as well.  In addition here’s a rough list of some of the ones that were mentioned:

Always popular are Apps that allow users to read and annotate PDF files including:

Our friends from the Intensive ESL program also reported experimenting with a number of different apps as part of their new student orientation activities.  These included:

  • iCard Sort as a interactive approach to breaking the ice
  • EverNote to collaborate with groups on docs…possibility of adding photos

And as conversations go this led to some ssharing of apps for brainstorming and collaborating in the cloud such as:

  • StickyBoard (a possible alternative to iCard Sort)
  • iThoughts for mind-mapping (recommended by Navindra $9.99)
  • Christopher uses MindMeister and it works on the web, too and for sharing, but others can’t edit

Lastly, there was some discussion of mobile access to websites.  Gus mentioned that CSUMB has a mobile friendly version of its website viewable at m.csumb.edu, and Middlebury recently announced its new mobile gateway available here portal.middlebury.edu.  MIIS will also has a mobile friendly version of its site  in the works!

And finally a few random notes…

  • iPad2 works better than iPad 1 with projections, but still some complications…some apps do not work
  • Patricia shared how iPads are changing music class.  She’s a member of a local choir that has also gone mobile, providing rehearsal agendas and schedules with an app called Music Stand (Free) which allows her to annotate her part and follow along with the music director electronically.  Pretty cool!
  • Mike took the prize for fun app to share with MadPad ($0.99) which allows you to record sound and video snippets to create an interactive beatbox remixer.  Check this demo video out and you’ll see why we thought this was a fun app:
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