Saturday, October 8, 2016

IAmLearn Newsletter - 2016 - 3

In This Edition

IAmLearn Executive Notes
  • President's Message: Welcome to mLearn 2016

What's Happening: News and Notes
  • Teaching & Learning with Mobile Technologies Vodcasts
  • John Traxler: The Future of Mobile Learning
  • NATO Future Online Learning
  • Notes from International Mobile Learning Festival 2016
  • Nurturing Communities of Inquiry with DojoIBL
  • GEOSchool Day 2016
  • WEKIT: A New European Community on Augmented Reality and Wearables-Enhanced Learning
  • Overcoming Challenges in Mobile Learning Across Sectors 

Upcoming Events

Contributing to the Newsletter

IAmLearn Executive Notes

President's Message: Welcome to mLearn 2016

Hi IAmLearn-ers, Welcome to mLearn 2016!

It is again this special time of the year when many of us get together to celebrate our shared interests and be grateful for the IAmLearn community to which we belong and which we form together.  It makes me feel all warm, proud and “all kinds of wonderful inside” to be able to celebrate our passion for and service to the field of mobile learning through our annual conference dedicated to mobile and contextual learning – mLearn 2016. This 15th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning is held October 24-26 at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), a dynamic and innovative university located in the centre of Sydney, Australia.

The annual mLearn conference is the leading international conference on mobile and contextual learning that has attracted participants from more than 60 countries, including researchers, policy makers, professionals and educators from higher education, school education and vocational education, government departments, industries and international organizations as well as IT developers and solutions providers.  mLearn provides a forum for participants to share knowledge, research and practices as well as to debate critical issues pertaining to the future of mobile learning. It is also an opportunity to network and celebrate our community and plan together for another year of m-learning research and initiatives before we meet again at mLearn 2017.

This year’s theme is Mobile learning futures: Sustaining quality research and practice in mobile learning. mLearn 2016 is kindly hosted by the University of Technology Sydney, and has been put together thanks to the generous efforts of the organizers led by Dr. Wan Ng and Dr. Laurel Evelyn Dyson, with support from IAmLearn. We cannot thank them enough for making this event happen and for welcoming us at UTS.

The mLearn 2016 conference program includes keynotes by Mark Pesce, Susi Steigler-Peters, and Professor John Traxler, as well as an array of papers and presentations on theories, research and pedagogy of mobile learning. I’d like to invite all mLearn 2016 attendees to participate in the walking tour of Sydney, our Monday IAmLearn AGM and reception as well as the conference dinner. We are also inviting those of you who cannot join us in person to follow mLearn 2016 on Twitter at @mLearn2016 and #mLearn2016. Enjoy the dialogue.

See you at mLearn 2016 (in person and online)!

Dr. Agnieszka (Aga) Palalas

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What's Happening: News and Notes

Teaching & Learning with Mobile Technologies Vodcasts

IAmLearn's Rob Power recently hosted a series of live vodcasts. The events featured a eight prominent IAmLearn researchers and practitioners, who discussed topics including:

Watch the video below for Rob's conversation with IAmLearn President Dr. Aga Palalas on the challenges with arriving at a single definition of what mobile learning is (and to access the rest of the videos in the playlist).

The Teaching & Learning with Mobile Technologies Vodcasts are available on YouTube under a Creative Commons Licence - so feel free to share and reuse!

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John Traxler: The Future of Mobile Learning

IAmLearn Vice-President Professor John Traxler recently spoke with Stifterverband to discuss the changing face of mobile learning research and practice.

When it comes to digital learning teachers no longer have control over what device their students are learning with. They bring their own device, their smartphone and their tablet computer. And this is a nothing but a revolution in higher education, says John Traxler of Wolverhampton University, one of the pioneers of mobile learning. So how do teachers and universities cope with that new situation? (Stifterverband, 2016)

Watch the full interview here...

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NATO Future Online Learning

Dr. Helen Crompton

On 25th-26th April NATO held a meeting/webinar to bring together academia and NATO-wide subject matter experts to identify the best practices in online learning and discuss how they could be best leveraged for NATO. The event was held at the ACT Innovation Hub that is based on campus at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

The ACT Innovation Hub is self-described as a professional international defense organization environment where college staffs and students can research, practice and collaborate with the NATO-wide subject matter experts community. The Innovation Hub is infamous for its development of online collaborative communities supported by genuine tools and techniques allowing its members to work efficiently beyond time and space.

I attended part of the event, and I am sharing notes from those sessions.

I sat on the panel with about 12 others. About 2/3 of the panel were military leaders of some type. This was broadcasted live via webinar and various others across the globe joined us to listen in and to also present.

Topics Covered
  • Online Learning and Education Science, theories and applications\
  • Best practice in Online Learning Strategies, Methodologies, Techniques and Tools
  • How to best leverage Online Learning and its various aspects in support of NATO?

The discussions started with presentations and discussions on the topics of:
  • How training needs are determined
  • The infrastructure of particular divisions
  • Education and training opportunities offered by NATO and non-NATO participants e.g. e-ITEP which can be accessed at 
  • How NATO is organized
  • Scholarly findings of how students learn

The NATO have an elearning program and the courses are all developed in iLias, which is open source software. There are 69 nations who access the courses. The ADDIE framework is typically used to design many of the courses. The courses are synchronous and asynchronous, although the majority are asynchronous and they often used the term “anytime, anywhere learning” although few appeared to be connecting with mlearning but with main desktop and laptop computers. The presenters described the use of electronic simulations, simple learning resources, and interactive e-lessons.

Those on the panel spoke about the need for students to be online as travel budgets are small and relocation of educational institutions is hard to impossible. For the future of learning they want faster-better-cheaper learning and training. They also want to move towards all training modules to be cloud-based. It is worth noting that NATO does not own any training centers.

The presentations moved to actual online teaching and learning strategies. I presented during this time and with a presentation time of 10-15 minutes I covered a small strategy of connecting students with the instructor in asynchronous online environments, I covered the literature about the feeling of isolation that many students feel, even in large online classes and how this can negatively impact course grades and completion. It is good for the students to know that there is a person behind the instructions, grades, and feedback.

The two strategies I shared where video visuals and animated personas. For the video visuals I talked about including a small inset video of the instructor so they could see the person behind the voice and gain the added advantage of seeing body language and expression during video lectures. Examples of programs include LiteCam HD, Camtasia (expensive), ScreenCastoMatic (free). The other strategy was to create animated personas. For this strategy, I shared my iPad screen and demonstrated the Telligami app. I showed the participants how they can create an animated person that looks like them and presents the information from the voice recording that the instructor has made. This latter strategy is a good way for an instructor that does not like to actually appear on video.

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Notes from International Mobile Learning Festival 2016

IAmLearn's Dr. Helen Crompton presented a keynote address at the International Mobile Learning Festival, entitled Moving Towards a Mobile Learning Landscape: Effective Device Integration. IMLF took place May 27-28, 2016 in Bankok, Thailand. The following is the abstract for Dr. Crompton's keynote address:

Mobile devices transcend the educational affordances provided by conventional tethered electronic and traditional learning. However, empirical findings show that educators are not integrating technology effectively into the curriculum. In this study, a thematic synthesis methodology was used to develop and present a framework for thinking about the integration of mobile devices in teaching and learning. The mobile learning (mlearning) integration framework is comprised of four main parts: beliefs, resources, methods, and purpose. These four areas are elucidated to reveal the many sub-components that determine how technology is integrated. An ecological framework is then presented to demonstrate how the individual parts of the initial framework operate through a complex, interconnected network of systems involving personal and environmental factors.

Dr. Crompton also shares her thoughts on the topic, and her keynote:

"Over the past few years I have been thinking about how educators make decisions about integrating mobile learning. I have worked for the International Society for Technology in Education for a number of years and traveled to places across the US to provide professional development on mobile learning. Many of these educators have self-identified that training is all they needed to effectively incorporate these technologies. However, I found that the amount and level of mobile learning integration has greatly varied after the professional development and that there are many other parts involved. This thematic synthesis had me unravel what all those parts were and ecologically how they came to influence that educator."

Here is a link to the proceedings that provide more information on this keynote and all the other great presentations.  You can also click the following link to read more of Helen Crompton's IMLF Highlight Notes.

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Nurturing Communities of Inquiry with DojoIBL

Angel Suarez Fernandez – Open Universiteit, Netherlands

Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a process of understanding, developing inquiry skills and constructing knowledge sparked by curiosity. Very often, these inquiry processes take place in collaborative settings, described by (Pierce, 1877; Garrison & Anderson, 2003) as Community of Inquiries (CoI). The term Community of an Inquiry concerns with the nature of knowledge formation in IBL, and it refers to the continuous exploration of a meaningful topic for the community members (students), where they engage in social interactions to generate shared understanding.

At the Open Universiteit of the Netherlands, we have developed the DojoIBL platform to support IBL processes. DojoIBL is an open source platform that builds on a PaaS (Platform as a Service) cloud based architecture deployed in Google App Engine (GAE). It is a Learning Content Management System that provides tools to structure collaborative inquiry processes. Based on elements like phases, activities and roles, designers and facilitators can easily create inquiry structures that later can be used by groups of students. For each inquiry structure created, designers can add inquiry-runs only accessible for a group of students. That means, DojoIBL can easily handle several groups of students working under the same inquiry structure whereas they work independently from each others groups. DojoIBL implements an individual messaging component and an integrated notification system for each inquiry-run to support collaboration and contextualized communication. Additionally, an interactive timeline with access to each individual contribution is provided to support social, activity and group awareness.

In short, DojoIBL is an intuitive and collaborative platform to structure inquiry-based learning processes. If you are a teacher, designer or facilitator willing to change education to provide better learning experiences to students, contact us and give DojoIBL a try (

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GEOSchool Day 2016

Christian Sailor

Almost 300 students defied the bad weather at the GEOSchool Day and set out to compete against other students from primary and secondary school. They participated in the GeoGame Battles of the semiannual GEOSummit, the official Swiss conference for geoinformation. The students used the newest geoinformation technology and playfully faced different real world challenges by mastering a battery of tasks both indoors and outdoors.

The indoor games included smartphone-based augmented paper maps, a wind farm simulation game in virtual environment, as well as a mystery eye tracking game.

Outdoors, the students could explore their skills as a pitcher by estimating distances of their throws using professional surveying tools, use an augmented reality sandbox for to understand the mechanics behind flow maps, assemble an ultra-sized geo puzzle game or even play a game of guessing sketches that were drawn by their classmates, using the GPS-tracks they left behind while running around outside.

One of the many highlights was the MEGAGEOGame, a game where the students had to master a total of 7 different missions in the City of Bern. The participating classes were assigned to different groups, where each student took in a different role, such as that of the Navigator, Communicator or Data-Collector. The classes then competed in, amongst others, seeking hidden treasures, finding unique objects and identifying pedestrians with wearables. The students in particular remembered the most difficult mission, i.e., a collaboratively sketched equilateral triangle and Swiss cross using their individual GPS-positions.

However, two classes outdid the others and were announced the champions of the GEOSchool Day 2016. The reward included – as it should be in Switzerland – a huge bucket of chocolates and a treasure chest full of traditional card games.

At the end, 300 students left the GEOSchool Day knowing they gained a deep insight into the technologies and applications of today’s geoinformation systems and what is more important, they left wanting to learn more about this field of education and industry, i.e. signing up for a course of study or applying for a job.

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WEKIT: A New European Community on Augmented Reality and Wearables-Enhanced Learning

Mikhail Fominykh - Project manager at Europlan UK Ltd

The European consortium implementing the three-year Horizon 2020 Project WEKIT: Wearable Experience for Knowledge Intensive Training is announcing a call for expression of interest to join a community of stakeholders willing to contribute to the design and later testing of a new technology platform and to benefit from the new opportunities this area offers.

This platform will be used for industrial learning and training employing augmented reality and wearable technology. The new concept of wearable experience will bring mobile technology-enhanced learning to a new level by converging knowledge in the form of experience instead of information. WEKIT captures expert experience using a combination of wearable sensors and transfers it to trainees via immersive, in-situ learning. Trainees get access to and benefit from tacit expert experience which goes beyond common knowledge embodied in technical documentation. As a result, the learning and economic effectiveness of training is projected to significantly increase and to improve operational performance and satisfaction of workers.

You can learn more about the WEKIT concept by watching our introductory video...

For more information on the WEKIT project, visit

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Overcoming Challenges in Mobile Learning Across Sectors: K-12, Higher Education, Business

School leaders, researchers, teachers, business organizations, and universities around the globe are striving to answer important questions about how or under what conditions mobile technology can benefit learning for particular students, tasks, and situations. But no single industry, IT innovation, school sector, country or institution alone can answer these questions. To address these shared challenges, Qualcomm Inc. and the Mobile Technology Learning Center at the University of San Diego are conducting a research study that aims to convene a cross-sector dialogue and formally document current challenges faced by K-20 education and private enterprise in STEM-related disciplines/careers when implementing mobile learning initiatives.

37 US national and international experts in mobile learning participated in a Delphi study which included three rounds of surveys and a one-day convening hosted by the Mobile Technology Learning Center and Qualcomm at the University of San Diego. The purpose of the convening was to share findings from the study and identify opportunities to implement one or more solutions through cross-sector partnerships.

We hope to learn a lot from the outcomes of this study and to cultivate cross sector partnerships to help each other better overcome challenges in mobile learning.

Watch the video from our convening at the University of San Diego and to learn more about the study...

Visit our website to learn more about the study.

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Upcoming Events

International Conference on Knowledge Technologies and Data-driven Business (iKnow) 

iKnow 2016 will take place on 18-19 October 2016 in Graz, Austria. Knowledge Technologies have dramatically changed over this period. i-KNOW 2016 aims at advancing research at the intersection of disciplines such as Knowledge Discovery, Semantics, Information Visualization, Visual Analytics, Social (Semantic) and Ubiquitous Computing. The goal of integrating these approaches is to augment human intelligence by designing tools and services which interact naturally with humans, learn from their experiences and generate and evaluate evidence-based hypotheses – following the cognitive computing paradigm. That is, we interpret cognitive computing as the convergence of various knowledge technologies research fields.

24th International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE 2016) 

ICCE 2016 will take place from November 28 - December 2, 2016, in Mumbai, India. The conference theme is Think Global, Act Local: Contextualizing Technology-Enhanced Education. ICCE 2016 will feature a sub-conference on Classroom, Ubiquitous, and Mobile Technologies Enhanced Learning. You can learn more about this event from the ICCE 2016 Conference Website.

International Conference MOOCs, Informal Language Learning, and Mobility

The International Conference on MOOCS, Informal Language Learning, and Mobililty, will take place on 20-21 October 2016, in Milton Keynes, UK. Topics include:

  • MOOCs - design, learning, teaching, quality assurance, etc
  • CALL and its normalisation
  • Mobile-assisted language teaching and learning
  • Informal language learning
  • Learning to learn languages
  • Student mobility
  • Virtual classrooms, eLearning, and ePortfolio

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Contributing to the Newsletter

Do you have an upcoming event, research study, posting, or a story about something happening in the mobile learning world that you would like to share through our newsletter? Have you participated in a recent podcast or vodcast that might interest our members? Share your ideas and resources by getting in touch with Rob Power ( or with any of the team members.

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