Today our first Wireless Mobile Device trial finished at Unitec, concluding with a focus group of students. The feedback was very useful, even though the trial could hardly be called a 'succcess' in terms of integrating technology into tertiary education. There are a lot of aspects that could be done better next time, and a few surprizes as well.
The biggest surprize was the lack of technology skills of the 3rd year Product Design students - in particular their lack of understanding of RSS and inability to setup
RSS subscriptions from their Blogger accounts.
In retrospect, the main issues are:
1. Not enough preparation and support for the students - a two hour intro to the concepts and technology at the start of the project was 'too little, too late'!!! - we need regular sessions, I would suggest at least 4 x 2Hour, overviewing the use of the technology, PRIOR to the start of the project.
2. Lack of Tutor engagement/integration with the technology - i.e. no modeling of Tutor Blogs, no comments from Tutors on student or group Blogs, no use of WMDs in delivery of the course by Tutors.
3. A lack of student connectivity - a surprizing number of students still have NO Internet access at home, the limited WiFi connectivity options at Unitec (meaning students were always 'face-to-face' when they were in WiFi range anyway!) .
4. We complicated the Blog process too much by requiring students to engage with 3 different Blogs (individual, group, and public).
Most of the other issues are merely technical that can be easilly overcome. More details to follow...