I’ve just got back my registration confirmation for the Handheld Learning 2009 conference. I’ve been wanting to attend one of these conferences since I met Graham Brown-Martin at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival last year, but I missed last year’s conference because of financial constraints. Sometimes, living in northern England makes things difficult.
The three-day conference will explore how mobile technologies such as phones, entertainment devices, GPS locators, and netbooks can be used for learning – not just in schools, but also colleges, universities, and even business training.
As an example, at EIF08 Graham talked about how some primary schools in Scotland gave each child a Nintendo DS, and incorporated games such as Nintendogs into different parts of the curriculum. The schools taking part in the trial found that the children’s test scores improved, and they reported feeling more confident about their ability to solve math problems after playing games such as Brain Age.
This year’s theme is Creativity, Innovation, Inclusion and Transformation – in recognition of the fact that that 2009 is the European year of creativity and innovation. The conference will look at the value that these elements have to learning, and identify some of the barriers to this kind of learning transformation, and the importants of universal access to such technologies.
I’m very much looking forward to this year’s conference. I was recently invited to work on a book about VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments), and I’m hopeful that the conference will offer some useful tips for promoting the accessibility of VLEs across the kind of devices that learners prefer to work from.