Sunday, 6 April 2008

Mobile learning: Preliminary data

One aspect of the trip to Thailand was to test the new Moodle Block that facilitated the upload and download of files to PDAs and smart phones. The second was to see what effect access to a server and all of the communication (e.g., upload and download of files) that support would have. Some of the data has been analysed and the results are interesting.

Did students avail themselves of the mobile server, and access it? In total numbers, there were more than 1300 accesses within four days from 67 students. Given that they worked in groups for much of the time, it was expected that some students (ie., the ones with the notebook computers) would access the server for uploading and downloading of files more than others. This was in fact the case, as shown below. The mode of access by students was 7 times. What is interesting is that more students (60) than there were notebooks (about 35) accessed the server at least once. Only seven students didn't access the server using their own login and password. The maximum number of times was 88 while a number of students just accessed once to download specific files to work on as part of their analysis.

Did this impact on learning? During classroom observations each evening the students were engaged in:
  • developing presentations on their learning and understanding using Photostory;
  • post-processing their data gathered during the day (particularly Excel data);
  • organising their extensive photographic resources taken during the day; and
  • uploading and sharing data across groups.
More data (questionnaire and interviews) will be gathered from teachers and students to look more closely for evidence of learning. Anecdotally one of the teachers commented that a great deal more data analysis work had been done before returning this year than in previous years.

There is hope yet.