Using 21st century communication technology to reach…and Teach… 21st Century Students Markus Geissler, Ph.D. Meet theCell Phone Generation
Fact about your Students Like it or not, most Students like to communicate using cell phones and like to listen to music on MP3 players…
Fact about your Colleagues … and most Professors have yet to efficiently utilize the emerging functionalities of these and other converging information and communication technologies.
Goal of this Session This presentation will challenge you to explore real alternatives for meeting your Students where they are… even when they are not in your classroom.
The “typical” Professor • Teaches 13 units per semester • Works 20+ hours per week • Just kidding! • Prepares for classroom lecture… well… most of the time • Thinks about class for 30 minutes before class and 60 minutes after class • Including grading, research, etc. • Likes to lecture for 50+ minutes at a time.
The “typical” Professor’s cell phone • Somewhat recent model cell phone with • 300 minutes-per-month contract • Bluetooth® or USB cable connection to PC • MP3 player capability • Megapixel picture and video camera • Underused because • Professor has a hard time seeing the letters on the small keyboard on his/her cell phone.
The “typical” Residential Student • Takes 15+ units per semester • Works 10+ hours per week • Prepares for classroom lecture… regularly • Thinks about class for 20 minutes before class and for 10 minutes after class • Likes to learn in 5 to 10-minute “infobites” • Owns a nice or mid-range laptop PC and new or late-model cell phone
The “typical” Commuter Student • Takes 12+ units per semester • Works 20+ hours per week • Prepares for classroom lecture… at least sometimes • Thinks about class for 10 minutes before class and for 5 minutes after leaving campus • Needs to learn in 5 to 10-minute “infobites” • Owns a mid-range laptop or desktop PC and a late-model cell phone
The “typical” Evening Student • Takes 6+ units per semester • Works 30+ hours per week • Prepares for classroom lecture… when time is available • Thinks about class for 30 minutes before class and for 10 minutes after leaving campus • Needs to learn in 5 to 10-minute “infobites” • Has access to a new or mid-range laptop or desktop PC and a late-model cell phone
The “typical” Student’s cell phone • Late-model cell phone • 500 minutes-per-month contract • Unlimited text messaging • Internet data plan (some) • Bluetooth® or USB cable connection to PC • MP3 player capability • Multi-megapixel picture and video camera • Student is very familiar with the small keyboard on his/her cell phone
The modern cell phone • Defining “modern” • The model was released within the past year. • Newer, better phones will be on the market within six months. • Customers who sign up for a new two-year contract can acquire it for less than the cost of a typical Science textbook. • …or for free, after consumer demand wanes a bit.
Capabilities of modern cell phones • Features a 3” touch screen • Can display 16 million colors • Has built-in high-speed data access (3G) • Opens standard Office/PDF documents • Plays standard small screen videos • Has an MP3 player with headphones • Allows audio streaming via Bluetooth® • Stores GigaBytes of data (MicroSD card)
The most impressive features of a modern cell phone • Students readily know how to use it. • …despite that they never read the manual. • Students always carry it with them. • They feel disconnected without it! • Students look at it at least 10 times per waking hour! • And once per sleeping hour … or so I hear. • They can store and display data in many different formats.
How do 21st century Students acquire and process information? • Few students properly plan to set aside time for studying and learning. • Technology-related distractions • “Life”-related distractions • Students are used to—and prefer—dealing with short messages • Exposure to popular media • Communication with peers
Will meeting Students where they are improve Learning? • Students are increasingly self-centered. • Everything should revolve around me. • Whatever I do should be custom-tailored to me. • I consume information (i.e., download media) when it is convenient for me. • Students increasingly expect to be treated as customers. • Personal communication comes to me. • Why shouldn’t Learning materials?
If Student Success is one of our core values… • Shouldn’t academia meet students where they are? • Are we serving students best by doing things our way… or their way? • Are we comfortable with the thought that the information and communication technologies (ICTs) that our students seemingly cannot live without can actually help our students learn?
… then what should our approach to Teaching be? • How ICT-dependent are our Students, really? • How effective are these information and communication technologies for teaching? • How willing (and able) are we to learn how to use ICTs for teaching? • Will “typical” Students be more successful if we meet them where they are?
Which Students would benefit the most from ICT-based Learning? • Residential students primarily use their laptops. • They can usually set aside the time to learn. • Commuter students use what they have available. • Many workplaces do not have computers. • Evening students use whatever they can whenever they have time to learn. • Security concerns in many workplaces often limit access to online learning media on company PCs.
Obstacles • Several online media standards exist. • Not all cell phones can display all of the most popular media files. • Varies by manufacturer • Many Students do not yet know how to load and play media on their cell phones. • Many Professors do not yet know how to create and use media appropriate for cell phones.
Overcoming the obstacles • Once created, it is not difficult to make media available in multiple formats. • Converters for most formats are available via a free download (Open Source) • Convergence of cell phones and MP3/MP4 players is making it easier to transfer and play media files. • Professors can learn to adapt existing materials for didactically appropriate and effective use on cell phones.
Selecting and formatting content for mobile devices • How much information can fit onto a small screen and still be efficiently legible? • Mobile devices have small screens • 5 +/- 2 bullets becomes 3 +/- 2 lines • What type of information can be efficiently displayed? • Charts, graphs, images, etc. • File formats
Using mobile devices efficiently • Audio vs. video with audio • Use audio files with external materials • Video files (with audio) require more work to build and more bandwidth to download • How much (or how little) animation makes sense on a small screen? • Movement with a purpose vs. static display of information
Designing effective media files • Reproportioning the information • Large screen vs. small screen Usingmobile devices efficiently Audio files require the use of external materials Video files take more time to produce How much animation on small screens?
Capacity limits of mobile devices • How much can students be expected to download? • Download speed depends on access method • Cellular data plan vs. WLAN vs. USB vs. BlueTooth® connection • How much can students be expected to store? • Capacity of cell phone’s hard drive or flash memory (SD card)
Use your Existing computer skills to Create effective media files • Capturing computer screen content • Recording what is on the screen • Adobe Captivate, Camtasia, etc. • Standalone PowerPoint presentations • Adobe Presenter, add audio and images in Windows Movie Maker, etc.
Media file Converters • http://www.mediaconverter.org/ • Web-based converter • No local installation needed • Free version allows for up to 5 conversions per day to multiple video formats • Various video and audio converters available for download and installation • http://download.cnet.com/ • Many converters are free (Find a standard for your organization!)
Making media filesAvailable to Students • Learning/course management system • Moodle, Desire2Learn, Blackboard, etc. • Web/FTP/Media server • Create links from a web page. • Check with your IT Support/Learning Media staff for the most effective method.
Transferring media filesto mobile devices • Common software tools • iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. work with many smart phones and MP3 players • Once connected, many mobile devices appear as “Removable Disk” in Windows • Media files are grouped into folders • Drag and drop to transfer files from PC to mobile device
Next steps • Adapt some of your existing presentations for use on mobile devices. • Find materials about which your students have a lot of questions. • e.g., “mobile flash cards” • Media conversion offers an opportunity to restructure content and reconsider teaching methods.