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New Academy launches to drive use of mobile technology


NEWS

New Academy launches to drive use of mobile technology
in education

LSN and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) are championing the use of mobile technology in education by creating eight cutting-edge Academies to support mobile learning throughout England. The eight colleges hosting the Academies have been chosen for their pioneering approach to the use of mobile technologies as part of the Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET), the first MoLeNET Academy opened at Northampton College on 12th February.

Each MoLeNET Academy will become a centre of excellence for mobile learning staff development and will champion the use of mobile technologies such as phones, PDAs, handheld gaming devices and MP3 players in teaching, learning and assessing. Academies will provide training facilities to develop the mobile learning skills of teaching and support staff in their area and encourage more local providers to utilise mobile technologies in learning. Academies will also hold special events and activities to highlight the benefits of mobile device use in education and help disseminate best practice in their area.

Jill Attewell, Technology for Learning Manager at LSN comments:

“Our research has documented that mobile learning technologies can significantly help teaching professionals and institutions enhance the delivery of learning, making it more accessible, personalised and engaging, all of which ultimately leads to better outcomes for learners. LSN is committed to exploiting the educational benefits of new e-learning technologies and we hope that the establishment of the new Academies will enable more learners across the country to benefit from mobile learning solutions.”

Tony Jewson, MoLeNET Academy Manager at Northampton College:

“We’re really excited to be the first MoLeNET Academy in the country to officially open. We’ve been using a range of devices in the classroom for a while now, our learners have responded extremely well and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. There’s really no end to the benefits of using this type of learning as part of the curriculum, and we look forward to working with local schools and colleges and advising how they can roll-out this type of provision in their own institutions.”

The initiative builds on the achievements of the Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET), a partnership between LSC, LSN and over 150 participating colleges and schools. Since its launch in 2007, the Mobile Learning Network has helped over 20,000 students and 4,000 staff benefit from the use of mobile learning technologies, with a further 10,000 students expected to participate in 2010.

Examples of mobile learning projects include:

· Bridgwater College and PSPs: Bridgwater College aimed to engage NVQ students and help them capture evidence of their skills outside of timetabled sessions. Students were issued with Sony PSP handheld games machines fitted with cameras and pre-loaded with learning materials, including instructional videos and PowerPoint presentations. Students were challenged to access the materials and produce a video of themselves carrying out specific skills such as soldering a pipe joint, which was transferred to each student’s online portfolio using the PSP’s wireless connection. The programme resulted in increased student motivation and engagement, helping turn around performance for a number of learners at risk of dropping out.

· Hastings College and MP4 technology: Hastings College used MP4 technology, namely the iPod Touch and wireless networks, to aid learning. The technology enabled the learners, who otherwise had little or no access to technology, to access media rich content and learn at a time and place that suited them. The project made it easier for students to access information in a more engaging and interesting way, helping improve attendance and retention.

- ENDS -

For further information, please contact

Alicia Cook, LSN

Tel: 020 7492 5152

Email: acook@lsnlearning.org.uk

Faye Hamborg, Northampton College

Tel: 01604 734353

Email: faye.hamborg@northamptoncollege.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

MoLeNET Academies will be opening in the following locations:

· Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College

· Gloucestershire College

· Northampton College

· The Sheffield College

· Stoke on Trent College

· Kingston College

· Aylesbury College

· Ashton Sixth Form College

About LSN:

LSN is focused on making learning work for organisations and their people. It has expertise in learning and development and provides consulting, outsourcing, research, technology and training services. These are underpinned by a powerful body of research and 25 years experience of delivering skills and development solutions.

LSN supports further and higher education, local authorities and schools, public services, work-based learning and international organisations in achieving best practice. LSN offers a range of tailored products and solutions to help its customers develop their people, enhance their services and improve their organisations. LSN is a not-for-profit organisation with an extensive network of experts across the UK and internationally.

About the Mobile Learning Network:

The Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET) is a unique collaborative approach to encouraging, supporting, expanding and promoting mobile learning, primarily in the English post-14 education and training, via supported shared cost mobile learning projects. Collaboration at national level involves participating institutions and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) sharing the cost of projects introducing or expanding mobile learning and LSN providing a support and evaluation programme.

The LSN MoLeNET support and evaluation programme includes technical and pedagogic advice and support, materials development, continuing professional development, mentoring, facilitation of peer-to-peer support, networking and resource sharing, research and evaluation

About Northampton College:

Northampton College is one of the larger general Further Education colleges in the East Midlands, with approximately 13,000 learners, a turnover of almost £28 million and over 600 full-time members of staff and around 400 ‘visiting lecturers’. It offers a broad range of full and part-time LSC funded courses. In addition, it provides Higher Education courses funded through the University of Northampton.

The college is currently undergoing a complete campus rebuild, in a capital project costing over £70m. The new premises will be competed in August 2011.

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