Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Launch: Critical Design and Effective Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education: Theory into Practice

Today I attended the launch of the book Critical Design and Effective Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education: Theory into Practice. It is edited by Roisin Donnelly, Jen Harvey, and Kevin O'Rourke of the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), and is published by IGI Global. The book is a collection of stories that provide those who work in higher education a source of both information and inspiration. The stories are told by some 40 professionals from all across the English-speaking world, detailing their theoretical and practical perspectives on the impact technology has had and will have on the learning experiences of higher education graduates (from IGI Global Description page).

The book features 21 chapters, and I have written chapter 9. My chapter is entitled iClassroom – Opportunities for Touch Screen Hand-held Technologies in Learning and Teaching. The chapter is mostly about the use of iPods, iTouchs, and iPhones in education. The Abstract of the chapter is as follows:

Hand-held technologies such as Apple’s iPod/iTouch/iPhone devices are now capable of being used for educational purposes as well as for entertainment. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the issues, content authoring, usage, workload, and pedagogical consequences of creating an iClassroom for mobile learning based on these devices. Use of podcasts and vodcasts by students, and their rate of success are varied as shown by studies reviewed from the literature and carried out by the author for this chapter. Several strategies for reducing workload at an individual and institutional level are proposed for adoption by educators. Key recommendations from this chapter are an increased emphasis on evaluation, usage of models for developing content, and an inclusion of iPod/iTouch/iPhone devices as part of an overall architecture for m-Learning.

I was delighted that both my initial proposal and final draft were accepted, though the timing was unfortunate in that I had to write and edit this chapter while I was also writing my first book. I am also conscious that the chapter will date very quickly - for example, the iPad has been released since the chapter was completed.

The book launch, held in The Courtyard in DIT Aungier Street, was a bit odd in that printed copies of the book are not yet available. So instead, the eBook version was formally launched by Professor Brian Norton of DIT, who used a Sony eBook Reader to do the honours. It was a bit like "Hamlet without the Prince" in that the main part of the excitement of a book launch is getting your hands on a copy of the book.

The book's web page on the IGI Global site is still short on detail, and I still don't know what many of the other chapters are about. I'll post more detail at a later date when I actually get my hands on a copy of the book.

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