Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Mobile Hardware Trial and Evaluation

The m-learning project here at LJMU has taken another interesting turn after a kind donation of money from the Director of Teaching & Learning Development of the Learning Development Unit. The money has enabled us to buy a number of mobile devices for full trial and evaluation in academic contexts.

The devices we now have to play with are:

· 2x Asus EEE PC 904HD-BK003X
· 2x LG X110 Notebook
· 5x iPod Touch
· 2x Samsung D391 Digital Camcorder
· 2x Creative Labs Zen 4GB Portable Media Player
· 1x eBeam Complete Kit

The steering group for this part of the project met for the first time yesterday in which the trial and evaluation processes were discussed. Nominated staff to trial the devices will be briefed during the remainder of the week, the devices will be checked and relevant anti-virus be installed etc. prior to the official commencement of the trial period (hopefully the 18th May and lasting approximately 6 weeks).

The devices have been split into 2 groupings:

· Devices to trial in roving contexts within the library setting (EEE PC, notebook, iPod Touch)
· Devices to trial in teaching and learning contexts within the library setting (camcorder, portable media player, eBeam)

The devices will be trialled by both assistant level staff and Information Officer level staff. It was decided that the best way to trial the devices in roving contexts would be achievable by (a) the assistants simply arming themselves with a device during their normal timetabled roving slot (at LJMU assistant level roving has been in place for well over a year now). (b) the nominated Officer level staff splitting their assigned time on information points between manning the desk and roving out on the floor. The interactions that happen during these periods will be recorded and evaluated via a brief online survey at the point of action. In july, a focus group will also be held to qualify the data from the online surveys.

Teaching and Learning Contexts
Staff have been assigned to evaluate specified devices within the given timescale, evaluation of these devices will be done via a more diary/log based approach in which the staff involved will note down important aspects of the devices capabilities/limitations etc. within its given context.

Watch this space for updates of the hardware trial…

Friday, 1 May 2009

Project Update (with a sprinkling of good news...)

For those of you that have been following my blog since last November, you may be thinking the project should be drawing to a close very soon and you may be hoping that the official project report would be accessible, however, this week I received some great news in that the project has been extended by a further 3 months. This is absolutely brilliant news as it will allow for a mobile device trial and evaluation to run at one of our LRCs and further research into best practice and academic engagement with m-learning to be undertaken. As is the nature of the mobile technologies field, everyday breathes life into new developments, new research and new projects, and in recent weeks (whilst I have been manically writing up the project report!!) I have had to be quite brutal about not writing in new information and new data due to time constraints. I can now take a moment to reflect on further literature and incorporate vital aspects of current m-learning developments within academia.

It is further hoped that I will be able to visit at least a couple more schools/institutions to augment the best practice section of the report also.

The added time will ensure thorough preparation for the m-Libraries conference in Vancouver in June (at which I am also presenting the project findings!!!)