Going Mobile with TEC-VARIETY

I ran a workshop for the second time a few days ago that addressed mobile technology in education.  The iPad was one of the main focuses for the workshop and we explored some of the great apps available that could be effectively integrated into education to enhance teaching and learning experiences.  My presentation is shared below:  (Embed option kept showing error so apologies for link)


Today as I was browsing the valuable resources once again that are presented on Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success I contemplated the impact that mobile devices can have on applying these models in teaching.  During discussion in my workshop the other day, I brought up the fact that mobile devices are being used for reading, responding, gaming, social networking, collaborating, recording and so much more.  I emphasised the value specifically of apps and of social networking being embraced as a way of further engaging students who seem to be engaging less and less in online discussion forums.  So how do these models look when considered in the light of mobile devices?


Tone/Climate: Psych safety, comfort, belonging – mobile devices are personal, they belong to the individual using it, whether that be permanent or temporary, and that allows them to feel psychology safe in this sphere of their learning experience.

Encouragement: Feedback, responsive, supports – there are so many ways for mobile devices to be used for gaining feedback.  Use on online survey tool that students can access on their device, they optimise perfectly in most instances, and SMS polling is becoming more readily available as well.  Students can also utilise one of many Q and A websites online to ask questions of experts and of course use Facebook and Twitter to crowd source.

Curiosity: Fun, fantasy, control – mobile devices breed curiosity!!  Gaming, and virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft, are accessible through your device, what more could you want?  Whilst virtual worlds may not always be accessible on an iPhone or iPad the MacBook/PC laptop is a mobile/portable device as well don’t forget.  Hand a student a device and watch what they do? See how they teach themselves to do things you had never imagined could be done.

Variety: Novelty, intrigue, unknowns – with millions of apps available right in the palm of your hand, what more variety could you possibly imagine?  Each day new apps produce novel ways of presenting information and providing interactive opportunities for their users.  Brainstorming (brainstorming apps) and mind mapping (mind mapping apps) on the fly is possible with a mobile device, listening to lecture recordings whilst on the bus is possible… the possibilities continue to grow.  Get your students to create a mind map on their device, save as an image or PDF and upload to course.

Autonomy: Choice, flexibility, opportunities – students have options and could interact with new information in a variety of different mediums, why not give them those options?  The great thing about mobile devices is that they present the tools to be more flexible and give those choices to allow autonomous, student-centred learning.  How will you embrace that?

Relevance: Meaningful, authentic, interesting – for me this goes back to the tone and climate aspect in that this device is personal and in so being it allows a student to find their own personal meaning and value in the online environments they may embrace the space more.  If the other aspects of this model are addressed and students are given options, choices, feedback, fun and support they will be interested.  Mobile devices couldn’t be more relevant in learning really because students are probably doing it informally more hours of the day than anything else in their life.

Interactive: Collaborative, team-based, community – there are some great apps out there for collaborating in real-time such as GoogleDocs, Dropbox, Mindmeister, Educreations, Campfire and so many more.  Build community and collaboration online, it can operate anywhere, anytime.

Engagement: Effort, involvement, excitement – I think the beauty of online learning is that the normally quiet person in class can have a voice and participate in ways they may never have before.  When they are using a personal device they are even more familiar with and comfortable with, who knows what they might do.  I think now of those on the Autism spectrum and the barriers they face to connect and engage with learning sometimes.  However, there is research being conducted on the engagement of these students with mobile devices and the increase in their social and educational outcomes.  Online learning and mobile devices can engage those hard to reach students, involve them in new ways.

Tension: Challenge, dissonance, controversy – this one was at first hard for me to see how it could be applied to mobile devices and the capabilities they provide but then I thought… hang on, I play Words With Friends all day… that gets very tense 🙂  I’m competitive by nature and getting involved in games is challenging, or even just testing myself on a game of Sudoku as well.  Use games in your teaching, create tension and challenge them.  It does get a part of their brain activated that is useful in other areas of learning such as problem solving.

Yields: Goal driven, products, success, ownership – I believe these are covered.  The products that students can produce on a mobile device is insane.  Students could become their own proliferate producers of videos, podcasts and so much more.  With the blog apps that are available, why not get them to produce a blog, engaging with it during lectures would be easy and they could reflect whilst they learn.  The student-centred nature of mobile devices gives students a greater sense of ownership over their learning and I personally find it very engaging and rewarding.

These are my musings and it is in no way thoroughly researched but a collection of thoughts I’ve had as I read and reflect on stimulus materials.  I welcome any thoughts and ideas from others.


2 thoughts on “Going Mobile with TEC-VARIETY

  1. Hey Kristina…this amazing. It is one of the best (if not the best) implementations of TEC-VARIETY that I have seen. Thanks for your reflective comments and ideas. I might use some of them in my book chapters that I have left to write up if that is ok. 🙂

    Keep thinking…keep pondering…keep implementing…keep pushing on…

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