Wednesday, 17 December 2008

MmIT North West AGM: Mobile Learning in Libraries

Yesterday I attended and presented at the Multimedia, Information and Technology (MmIT) Group North West AGM. The theme for the seminar was ‘Mobile Learning in Libraries’ which obviously fits in nicely with the current research project I am conducting for LJMU.

The day kicked off with some rather strong coffees and mini mince pies, which were lovely!! After half an hour of networking with the other attendees, Leo Appleton (the chair for the day) summoned us to take our seats for the first presentation.

Unfortunately one of the speakers from the first slot was ill and could not attend so Leo jumped from host to presenter to help his former colleague Sean Herbert to present. ‘Using handheld gadgets in Further Education libraries’ was an informative case study that showed how the library service at West Cheshire College has evolved over the last few years, growing with the new ways in which the students wanted to learn and embracing the new era of mobile technologies in teaching and learning.

The library service at West Cheshire College is a library with a difference. Students are able to loan hardware devices (handheld video players, digital audio recorders and digital cameras etc.) as if they were books so they can be utilised for their study.
A YouTube site containing a whole host of videos from ‘How to tie and wear a neckerchief’ which has 2,673 views to ‘Preparing vegetable cuts’ is maintained by West Cheshire College enabling their students to download relevant and informative course related videos onto their handheld devices to help them in their study. The beauty being that on a handheld device, the students have access anytime, anywhere – the trainee chefs can use the videos in the kitchens, the bricklayers on site etc.

And also hardware casualties are extremely rare – one fatality in the last year!!

The second speaker was from Blackburn Public Libraries; Angela Robinson gave an enthusiastic presentation on ‘Using games consoles for reader development’ and even though this isn’t strictly ‘mobile’ it does open avenues for the future. The use of a Nintendo Wii to improve reader development exposes how technology appeals to children and young people, public libraries can exploit this to ensure that children and young people consistently return to their local libraries. ‘But they are not reading...’ some people might argue – not whilst they are playing on a games console I admit, but during the time when they are waiting their turn, nipping to the toilet or talking to friends, they are surrounded by books which is the first step to getting children and young people who would never dream of going to the library, never mind actually picking a book up to read it, to actually do so.

Angela also spoke of a new initiative that is currently underway at Blackburn Public Libraries whereby they have invested in 10 Nintendo DS gaming devices with 10 Brain Training packs to be offered to the over 50’s, loanable in the same way in which books are. A brilliant way to bridge the gap between the older generations and the younger generations in terms of technology but also, if this initiative is a success then surely there will be similar schemes for different age groups to follow...

There was a 30min refreshment break next which we were all extremely glad for – it was exceptionally cold in the lecture theatre so a nice cup of tea was just what the doctor ordered!!

Will Reid and myself finished the day off by reporting back to the group on the research undertaken so far here at LJMU for the mobile technologies project I am conducting.


  1. Good summary Vicki.
    Like the picture...very lifelike!

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