How are you accessing this issue of EQ? On a mobile device, perhaps? Growing numbers of people in higher education rely on their smartphones and PDAs to stay connected and get work done no matter where they go during the day, as Jason Maseberg-Tomlinson demonstrates in the photo record of his daily use of mobile technology.
Shelley Rodrigo argues persuasively for a focus on mobile learning rather than on mobile teaching in her thoughtful essay. Four case studies illustrate different ways to engage students in learning, from geotagging in Japan to building and sharing personalized learning environments with Mixable, using Google forms in a computer lab, and using texting to help off-campus students feel connected.
A look at UCLA's Mobile Web Framework demonstrates a device-agnostic approach to app development, while the University of Michigan took a community-sourced approach to apps. Loyola University Chicago chose to develop a single device-independent service called Loyola Mobile.
Planning for the future, authors ask "why books?" and discuss the results of several pilots at Abilene Christian University that depart from the model of standard e-textbooks. Then comes a discussion of the need to support global health by expanding Supercourse lectures into a format accessible by all mobile phones, not just smartphones. Some initial opportunities make the case for how this approach could support populations in disease-prevention efforts as well as in the aftermath of disasters.
The peer-reviewed feature articles in this first issue of 2011 also focus on solutions to problems:
- Exploring student information literacy in a mobile environment, from search strategies to multitasking
- Using Twitter and Wordle as student response pedagogies, then developing a homegrown system called ChimeIn to address further issues
- Supporting students doing fieldwork by providing tablet computers for data collection and entry
- Making specialized software available to students virtually rather than on lab computers
In addition, EQ welcomes another group of talented columnists for 2011:
- Bryan Alexander, The Future of Higher Education
- Donna Tatro, Alternate IT Sourcing
- Hal Abelson, Mobile Ramblings
Many thanks also to the anonymous columnists who share their wise advice in Career Counselor. Please share career questions and concerns with them by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All communications are confidential.
New in this issue is an infographic tied to the "mobile" theme, titled "Students Using Handheld Devices" in 2009 and 2010, showing the growth in ownership and in use of mobile devices for tasks such as searching for information and conducting personal business. Future issues will contain their own infographics highlighting an important element of the theme.
In the other three issues of 2011, EQ will explore alternate sourcing of IT (think "above-campus sourcing," separate from cloud computing), collaboration, and college readiness and completion. If you have ideas to share on these or other topics relevant to IT practitioners in higher education, I am happy to talk through the options with you, whether peer-reviewed feature articles or thoughtful opinions, short case studies, or good advice. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com to begin the discussion. Suggestions for topics or ways to improve EQ are always welcome, as are volunteers to join the EQ Reviewers. Whether you would like to publish your work in EQ, help review submissions for value to your peers, or comment on published articles to start conversations in the community, your participation is encouraged.