MOBILE LEARNING APPS AND EDUCATIONAL WEB-PLATFORMS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL ASPECTS OF TEACHING
Smart phones in combinations with Web Sites allow innovative ways of teaching. Also organizational aspects of the teaching process can be simplified a lot. Our main focus, using this technology, is to motivate and engage students in an active use of the web as a resource for their self-governed and collaborative learning activities.
A growing number of students use smartphones (i.e. iPhone or similar) for communication and entertainment purposes in their daily life (Patokorpi, 2006, p. 102). It’s a logical way to integrate this technology to simplify students’ campus life. To reach our goals, we implemented two software solutions.
Like in many companies, email is one of the most used communication tools in our university. All information concerning students’ activities in courses is distributed by administrative staff or lecturers via in-house mail distribution. This system works similar to classical mailing lists and therefore has no archive-function. So, sometimes students don’t know important facts by reason of losing or not recognizing important mails. As a consequence there was a demand on a solution that not only makes it easier for students to reread important mails without having them in their own mailbox but also provides academic staff the possibilities to enhance and comment these messages. Starface, a java application in combination with the weblog system wordpress, is responsible for automated collection of emails targeted to student’s mailing lists, tagging and categorization of information and also publishing. To distribute the information over many channels for mobile devices we provide RSS-Feeds and also a Twitter-Channel. An extension of more web 2.0-services like Facebook is planned in near future. Another important feature is the integration of Google calendars for each term. So, students, lecturers and administrative staff get an additional overview about important dates. These calendars are easy to integrate in popular calendar-applications or Personal Information Managers (PIM). As a result, all campus members receive correct dates automatically.
Our App, developed for iPhone and Android-devices, provides not only a personal timetable for staff and students (lecture dates), but also a possibility for downloading and consuming learning material on the way. For each course there is an own section on the central campus information system that is replicated by the App for mobile devices. Our learning material contents audio files for podcasting, videos for mobile devices and PDF-documents.
Improvements of organizational aspects of the teaching/learning process are important methods to allow students to put their concentration onto learning itself. Smart phones and websites are used to increase the efficiency of organisational aspects of the learning and teaching process. Based on these first positive experiences, we will expand expand these with a direct access to our LMS Moodle and a user interface for our Starface communication system, introduced above.
Patokorpi E., 2006. Abductive Reasoning and ICT Enhanced Learning: Towards the Epistemology of Digital Nomads.
The Information Society: Emerging Landscapes. Springer, Boston, USA, pp. 101-117