We have been looking forward to today’s bMobLe event for a while. Not least because of the delicious curry anticipated this evening. The conference takes place at The Abundant Life Centre, in Bradford.
The acronym bMobLe stands for the “Bradford Mobile Learning” network. bMobLe was set up in Autumn 2008 by Alan Beecham (Education Bradford), James Langley (Education Bradford) and Phil McLear (Challenge CLC). The network was inspired after attending the Handheld Learning Conference in London on an annual basis.
They decided that it would be useful to run a series of mobile learning meetings and conferences for the north of England. These meetings would be accessible by teachers, SMTs, technical support providers and consultants (ICT and other). In February 2009 they organised the inaugural bMobLe “Next Generation Learning” Conference.
We have also put a Linkbun.ch online, of most of the resources we mentioned. It is a simple one: http://linkbun.ch/y2bz Click on OPEN ENTIRE BUNCH at the bottom and you will get all of the links on individual tabs.
There were loads of superb sessions here today: Carl Faulkner (headteacher) and some inspirational pupils from Normanby Primary School, Middlesborough (winners of the Primary Innovation award at Handheld Learning 2009) presented after lunch. They demonstrated how they teach and learn using mobile technologies across the curriculum. Delegates also had the opportunity to ask pupils, back at school in Middlesborough, live questions throughout the presentation.
Carl described how he had to almost “punch it home”, to an inspector, just how effective the methods his school uses, are! (Grammmmmurr Rylands!!)
Not only could we ask questions, “virtually”, Carl was also “interrupted” by REAL children!!! They didn’t bite, but their wit was razor sharp. They interacted with some superb comic videos: a child struggling under the weight of the individual elements of a desk top computer, versus a child with a PDA taking learning ANYWHERE.
It really was great to see ch!!dren at an education conference. Something we always fight for, so well done the Bmoble bunch.
Another highlight Dughall McCormick (pictured here) and Nicola Stables presentation, entitled “Out of the Game”. This breakout session had a good look at the opportunities for learning that arise beyond “the game itself”. After a week on Safari, Nicola’s Year 3 class have done more than just track animals. We had the chance to find out about how a Wii console, a game, careful planning and reflection can foster collaboration, communication, team work and the development of language in a group of enthusiastic learners. “Having a games console in your classroom is about so much more than playing games. Every class should have one”!
Nicola joined us yesterday, in Leeds, to share some of her experiences.
A great venue- a great opportunity for a social: Teachmeet with a curry provided by Primary-email from The Sweet Centre Restaurant in Bradford.
WE WILL PUT UP SOME MORE DETAIL ABOUT THIS A.S.A.P. Why not now? Cos we’re having a great time there at the moment and then we’re off to Durham. Meanwhile, here are the intrepid folk who tackled the Tim’s TeachMeet Try-cycle Tryout.
The Bradford bMobLe website is full of useful advice and information on mobile learning:
There is so much interest in mobile learning projects using PDAs, Smartphones, Asus EEE pcs and other netbooks etc. that the Curriculum ICT team in conjunction with the Bradford City Learning Centres set up the Bradford Mobile Learning Network (bMobLe). This network is for all (both Secondary and Primary colleagues) in the authority, who have either started projects or who are interested in starting projects to enable them to share experiences, positive and negative.
It is also a good source of encouragement for those outside the Bradford area.
Providing every pupil with one-to-one access to a device that does many different things can extend learning beyond the classroom walls in many different ways. Pictures, sound clips, video, animation and other creative tools open new approaches that meet different learner needs. Linking devices between learners fosters small group collaboration and peer learning while personal ownership of a device has been proven to encourage a greater sense of responsibility. There are currently over 20 mobile projects being run across Bradford LA and this number is growing at a rapid rate.
If you are considering a mobile learning project there are a number of things to think about:
1) What is the specific focus for the project i.e. raising attainment in a subject, retaining pupil numbers, reducing the digital divide and ensuring equitable 24-7 access to computers for pupils etc?
2) Are the wireless infrastructure, internet bandwidth, servers in your school future-proofed enough i.e. is the wireless infrastructure scalable so that increasing numbers of devices can be networked effectively? Have you got a 3-5 year development plan that anticipates the number of wireless devices that the school/families will invest in?
3) What funding could your school access – Harnessing Technology Grant, e-Learning Foundation, CLC projects, Home Access scheme etc? How can the project become sustainable? Could you ask for parental voluntary contributions?
4) What type of device (Smartphone, netbook, PDA etc) and OS (operating system) are you going to use? What applications will work with the different OS? Who will set up the devices in the school? You have to be aware of the total cost of ownership when running a mobile project.
5) How much initial training and support for teachers will be needed? The teacher will need access to the device for a period prior to the project so that they are comfortable with how the device works and how it can be used in and outside of the classroom. They will also become aware of a devices limitations eg battery life, where is work saved etc.
For more information about introducing mobile learning in your school the team encourage you to visit the case studies section of the Bradford bMobLe website.