Posted by & filed under #tinman, critical success factors, Heutagogy, mlearning, mobile, Pedagogy, Tin Man.

Here is a short introduction to 6 critical success factors for mobile learning via the Adventures Of Tin Man. Based upon a BJET paper available at:, and an RLT paper “Secrets of Mlearning Failures”

The Tin Man comic series is available at:

Posted by & filed under mosomelt, PHD.

I read this Poem today as an argument for mix methods research. I had heard it paraphrased before without realizing it came from another source. It made me smile so decided to share it here.

John Godfrey Saxe’s ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend,

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Posted by & filed under mlearning, Pedagogy.

From Evernote:

Presenting without Powerpoint


I have been asked several times to blog a "how to present without PowerPoint" post, so due to popular demand here it is!
The first question of course is WHY? Apparently almost everyone, including mobile learning experts, default to using PowerPoint to ‘present’ and ‘teach’ – and herein is the key issue – it’s about changing the traditional teaching/learning paradigm that is all about transmission of content. I am interested in participatory and social forms of teaching and learning, and this is very difficult to do using PowerPoint. The second key issue is about enabling interaction and access beyond the model of locking the course content away until after the class, when the PowerPoint files are typically uploaded to the LMS for students to download and review after the class. The problem with this typical scenario is that there is no possibility of discussion or conversation before the class, students must have a copy of Microsoft Office to view the class content, and the PowerPoint slides are generally devoid of context or the class interaction and conversation that (hopefully) accompanied the ‘presentation’. This can be alleviated somewhat by uploading your PowerPoint slides to an openly accessible online host such as Slideshare, however the teaching/learning paradigm remains fundamentally unchanged.

Recently I tweeted during a particularly boring conference presentation:

Thank you for reading your PowerPoint slides to me #ectel2013
19/09/13 10:46 PM

Which generated more discussion than the presentation:

I received a reply from @jontrinder

@thomcochrane thought you might appreciate/empathise with
19/09/13 11:27 PM

This Dilbert comic strip provides a great summary of many PowerPoint presentation experiences

More recently @ATZ119 provided a link to a blog post about presenting without PowerPoint that I think summaries many of the issues:

Presenting without PowerPoint – take the risk and model authentic engagement with technology! #sharefest13
10/10/13 9:43 AM

This blog post describes the writer’s experience of participating in a presentation that was devoid of PowerPoint, that used live interaction with web content instead, and the ‘fear’ that this engendered in the writer when they contemplated doing the same! This got me motivated to make this blog post :-)

Another key issue for me is that the vast majority of the world now access the Internet through their smartphones or other mobile devices (See the ITU 2013 statistics) – so material needs to be mobile accessible – PowerPoint or Slideshare are barely mobile accessible formats. Since the ability to screen mirror mobile devices has become baked into the OS of iOS, Android and Win8 over the past two years, mobile devices are now incredibly interactive and flexible presentation and teaching tools – no longer limited to personal productivity due to small screen size.

So what do I use? The tools I use need to be:

  • Mobile friendly – accessible either by a mobile web browser or a mobile App
  • Online
  • Shareable for open access
  • Make the most of the affordances built into smartphones: camera, audio, video, geolocation, QR codes, augmented reality etc…
  • Synchronised across my several mobile devices
  • Provide opportunities for learner response/interaction/conversation/commenting
  • Provide opportunities for serendipitous input from a global community

I have facilitated workshops on using these tools with @vnarayan for example:

Generally I will use a Mashup of mobile social media tools, linked via an outline with ‘live’ links via Evernote – a shareable mobile friendly multimedia note-taking App that is also a powerful presentation tool.
Because all my resources are collated and curated using social media, such as YouTube, Picasaweb, Soundcloud, Twitter, Storify, AudioBoo, etc… the Evernote page provides links to this media, which can either be viewed within Evernote’s own browser, opened in Safari (on iOS), or opened in the appropriate App. This approach requires a decent Internet connection, either via WiFi or 3G/4G as a backup. Generally I will purchase a local 3G/4G data SIM at the airport of whatever country I am visiting as my backup connectivity option. Increasingly Eduroam WiFi is available on University campuses in NZ/Australia/UK/Europe. My Evernote page is effectively a window into my online curated content that can be accessed via any Internet connected mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) or desktop computer.

I will usually preload any video files onto my mobile device for off-line presenting just in case, and use the native video App to present these. Switching between mobile Apps is far quicker and less obtrusive than switching between Applications on the fly on a laptop or desktop.

My basic suite of presentation tools includes:

  • Evernote as the outline/launcher and shared resource link
  • A QRCode and URL shortener and Twitter for sharing the Evernote URL
  • YouTube playlists for video
  • Picasaweb for albums used as curated slideshows & embedded video – cached offline (just in case) via the Web Albums App
  • Soundcloud or AudioBoo for audio files, also cached via the built-in media player/library of my mobile device
  • A Twitter hashtag as a back-channel/discussion forum
  • Todaysmeet for the Twitter adverse
  • Mendeley and ResearchGate for sharing references
  • Google Maps and Google Earth for geolocated content – adding context to web hosted content
  • Wikitude for locally accessible geolocation content

To facilitate live mobile device screen mirroring I use:

  • either an AppleTV connected to a video projector via HDMI
  • or the Airserver App ( my MacBookAir connected to a video projector
  • Airplay over WiFi directly from my iPhone and iPad so that I can be mobile – and this also means no accidental disconnections of the VGA/HDMI adaptor to the iPad/iPhone when you accidentally move them!
  • A decent audio system connected to either the AppleTV or MacBookAir

That is basically my mobile-friendly, audience participatory, presentation toolkit!

Sometimes I will use Prezi on the iPad or iPhone, however I find most people merely substitute Prezi for PowerPoint, rather than leveraging the collaborative editing and presentation facilities of Prezi, so I minimise my use of it, using it within a broader suite of mobile social media tools for a bit of variety, rather than do a complete presentation using only Prezi.

The key is getting comfortable with risk – being able to troubleshoot connectivity issues, and building in conversation/interaction into any presentation. The world of mobile social media is a rapidly changing space, and so experimenting with new tools is essential. Curating your content on social media sites means that you are not limited to one presentation tool and you can immediately share content and embed your content within Twitter conversations etc… and I can change my presentation notes and linked media anywhere anytime as inspiration happens or in response to the group of learners on the fly.

Here’s a couple of example presentations if you are interested:

Posted by & filed under mosomelt, TEACHING.

We experimented using Google+, results were a mixed bag. For classes it worked very well, however as an informal meeting space for grouping researchers it did not work well.

As a tool in class I was very impressed by Google+. It was implemented in Creative Practice and provided a great digital meeting spot. Both teams used it extensively with very little encouragement needed. Both teams seemed to enjoy Google+  as it afforded them a simple way to keep in touch. A great example of this  is one student was not present for a month of classes. He was able to keep in touch with his team in the class and ensure that his team was on track and contribute. For the other students they used this ability to delegate tasks and both ask for and give feedback throughout the week, rather than having to wait for class to roll round. Also as a lecturer this was a handy tool for distributing knowledge quickly.

Where I encountered issues with Google+ was when I tried to establish a group for students currently doing research within honors, masters, or PhD studies. As there are no classes and I am not the supervisor for these students it is very difficult to encourage people to not only join but sign up for what some students perceive as “another Facebook”. I had encountered some resistance from students in the past signing up for such services based on these perceptions.

Overcoming these perceptions is difficult if you are not in contact with the students, and makes me wonder if Facebook would actually be better as there is, in my experience, higher student by in. Another consideration is buy in from practitioners. Inviting people from industry to be involved with groups suffers the same problem. It seems what makes Google+ strong as a tool for education  the fact no-one uses it, also seems to be one of its greatest limitations.  It warrants further investigation.