In a few days time I shall be attending the Handheld Learning conference in London. This will be my first time attending this conference and I hope it will be worthwhile.
I have long held an interest in using handheld devices for teaching and learning, so I hope this conference will show me some new ideas and approaches. A few years ago at BETT, I recall seeing a group of schoolchildren from a school in Wolverhampton demonstrating their use of PDAs. This was a very interesting and intriguing project they were working on but I also felt at the time that some of the technical aspects of it seemed a bit clunky. I shall be interested to see how the world of handheld learning has learned and moved on from this.
In the early days of working on Home Access, a study had revealed that mobile phones and other handheld devices were very much an ‘add-on’ to pupils’ learning through ICT; generally, the pupils who made most use of these devices also already had other means (laptop and broadband usually) of accessing the Internet. I wonder whether this situation has changed or whether those learners using handhelds still represent an ‘elite’ .
The fact is, however, that most of us nowadays seem to use our mobile phones for much more than just voice or text communication. So perhaps it is not the learners who are an elite but maybe those schools that allow or encourage such use are just foresighted and forward thinking?
So what do I hope to gain from the conference?
- the chance to see new ideas and innovations
- opportunities to meet with people using technology in interesting and successful ways
- information to assess the future potential of handheld devices in education
- some fun, well why not!