Saturday, January 23, 2010

m-learning Symposium

Professor Mohamed Ally.  Photo from Athabasca University website

Professor Mohamed Ally’s symposium held at Massey University Library yesterday was really worthwile.   You will notice that the title has changed between posts and that now I have called it m-learning.   The Symposium highlighted the fact that the boundaries between m-libraries and m-learning are very blurred and that in effect m-libraries are really only the library that supports m-learning.   This blurring also seemed to obscure any divisions between the library and academia.
Professor Ally surveyed the developments from the e-words to the m-words: e-learning to m-learning, e-libraries to m-libraries, and e-training to m-training.  In the course of these sessions he covered some really notable and noteworthy areas: the ‘hole in the wall project’ in Mumbai run by Sugata Mitra, the Millenium Development Goals (which most other people have forgotten), the $100 laptop for developing countries and of course the way in which his own institution Athabasca University in Canada is moving into mobile delivery.

In developing mobile learning and preparing materials for mobile dissemination Professor Ally listed four requirements:

  • ·         Break your content into chunks (chunking information)
  • ·         Design material as learning objects with clear learning outcomes
  • ·         Share in repositories for easy access
  • ·         All learning objects should be meta-tagged for retrieval and re-use.

He also suggested that each piece=chunk should have no more than seven pieces of information, and that Advance organisers or summaries were vital.

For the exporter studying the course at the New Zealand School of Export, I could imagine him/her being able to search ELIS and downloading Sample Contracts at the point of need, checking country information, reading Module materials and completing activities specially designed for m-learning.   A great deal of food for thought!

In trying to come to grips with my own personal computer/cellphone needs/wants, the symposium clearly pointed the way forward to some kind of mobile device – smartphone.  By chance the Dominion Post’s Indulgence magazine iDom page today covers E-readers, Smartbooks and Nexus One.  Neither Nexus One nor dedicated e-readers are sold in NZ.  Next week it the iDom column will cover NZ iPhone applications.
Professor Ally has recently edited the following book: Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training published by AU press in March 2009.   It is available in e-book format and can be freely downloaded from this URL:   Professor Ally and Athabasca University have a policy of open access to information which they produce.

Monday, January 18, 2010

m-Libraries: Planning and Implementation

On Friday of this week I am attending a Symposium with the above title which features international speaker Professor Mohamed Ally, from Athabasca University in Canada.   There are three sessions in the Symposium which is being held at Massey University Library in Palmerston North and I am particularly interested in Keynote 2 presentation which plans to look at 'Effective practice with m-learning in tertiary and vocational education, trends, measures and remerging resources', to see whether it is something that can be incorporated into our programme here at the New Zealand School of Export.

Have any other trade librarians/information specialists had experience with m-learning which they could share on this blog?  It would be great to hear from you before January 22nd and before I post you with further thoughts after I have heard Prof Ally.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Design without Computers

Librarians and information specialists, including those in trade libraries and information centres, are often called upon to produce reports which need a well thought-out cover design, or to produce brochures and pamphlets to advertise services.   We don't usually have the services of computer design people to help with this and so fall back on our own resources!  This short pdf (5 pages) may give you some ideas or confirm the ideas and principles that you already work with.   Have a look at it on the Learning Connexion site:  It is by Elidh McDowall.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Slow learner and Dashboard

I am a slow learner - have just come across Google Dashboard which was launched last year!   Found it when I was trolling through some of the many emails that I receive in nz-libs list.   If you haven't come across it before either - it brings together all the Google tools which you may have subscribed to.   If you are like me, you subscribe because you think better to do it now knowing that you won't do it later!!  Then of course your subscriptions are lost in the mists of time...   By logging into Dashboard you can see all the tools you have subscribed to, what activity has taken place and you do get the opportunity to change settings and the information you have provided.

For the busy trade librarian, this could be really useful.  For example if you had forgotten that you had set up alerts for "exports to Liberia"  and "illegal arms trade", checking your Google Alerts may be just what you need to refresh your alerts for 2010.

The Dashboard site does have a short video explaining what it does.  BTW you need your Google account and password

Thursday, January 7, 2010

11 Of The Coolest Bookcases (PHOTOS, POLL)

11 Of The Coolest Bookcases (PHOTOS, POLL)

If you would like to arrange your Trade Library Collection by colour and in an interesting bookcase, have a look at these photos! For growing collections I liked the Platzhalter...