Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Flexible learning with flexible devices: opening up opportunities
I am going to mLearn2011 conference to present my research study of students’ exploration and use of previously unexplored low-spec sub US$100 open-source mobile devices for learning programming. The study was conducted over a period of fourteen weeks in University of West London, UK with the postgraduate students studying Mobile Application Development (MAD) module which is a part of the MSc Network and Mobile Computing course.
Students used the Wikireader, a handheld reading device and Nanonote, a lightweight pocket computer, developed using a copyleft approach. In this study, mixed methods research methodology was used and data analysis was guided by the Framework for the Rational Analysis of MobileEducation (FRAME) model. From the results of our evaluations, we were not able to ascertain whether or not these devices improved learning programming. However, the findings indicate these open-source devices have potential to enhance motivation to learn programming without being restricted to the limited practical sessions in the university lab and also facilitate offline reading.
The aim of this study was not to identify and measure the impact on learning embedded programming and also not meant for generalising our findings to a larger population due to small number of students participation in a short period of the study. Therefore, the findings of this study should be used with caution to inform other programming education related studies. As this study mainly focused on the device usage, the results provide indications on students’ perceptions towards the effectiveness of open-source platforms for student support and the findings could also be useful to support the adoption of offline mobile learning model to provide an access to resources and support learning.
Mobile Learning Model (Shrestha, et al, 2010, p.341)
Shrestha, S., Moore, J., Abdelnour-Nocera, J. Poster: "Flexible learning with flexible devices: opening up opportunities", mLearn 2011, October 2011, Beijing The Conference Proceedings