Although a major international conference is currently ongoing in Melbourne – mLEARN 2007 - those of us unable to make this (!) had our own, more local forum to share practice in London last week.
Handheld Learning has grown, both as a conference and as a discussion community, and many more bloggers recorded the event this year, not least our own Gill Clough in IET with her Research Essentials record. Other blogs can be found on the Handheld Learning Forum, where presentations and podcasts will soon be available. As is commonly noted, ‘growing up’ can be difficult for a conference and it was interesting to note more mainstream corporate sponsorship – as long as it doesn’t spoil in the same way that BETT has changed over time.
HHL2007 had, again, a school focus to a large extent – but that’s where the money is, and that’s where a lot of innovation is happening. ‘Where is HE?’ was a frequent reflection…and some are doing well, with some practice-based work, comparisons of how different disciplines respond to the new technologies and methods, and how podcasts can be used to enhance material. But it IS patchy. Looking at a few universities such as Bristol, Leicester, London Met, Nottingham and Wolverhampton would be a good place to start to see a larger focus, but still somewhat isolated (although Bristol has a good VLE focus and Leicester has a wide scope of research pilots).
Policy makers at national and international levels are beginning to take mLearning more on-board, though even they have a fairly entry-level understanding to some of the issues that have been running for some time now. We heard from the minister and officials from the school sectors, but it would be interesting to compare with their counterparts in HE…
The good news is that next year, both mLearn 2008 and Handheld Learning 2008 will be in the UK again!