Welcome to Episode 104 of the Think UDL podcast: More Fluid Mobile Learning with Christina Moore. Chrisitina Moore is the Associate Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Christina has been on the podcast once before to talk about Online Faculty Learning Communities on Episode 38, and she is back on the podcast to talk with me about her book Mobile-Mindful Teaching and Learning: Harnessing the Technology That Students Use Most. In today’s episode, we discuss how learners interface with materials, instructors, and each other through mobile devices, define characteristics of fluid learning and talk about learning ecologies and how they are all important steps to understanding mobile-mindful teaching and learning. We talk about creating ecosystems for learning and how to encourage social learning through well-designed learning environments. Christina is full of ideas to take away barriers for students by using the technology they have right at their fingertips.
Find Mobile-Mindful Teaching and Learning: Harnessing the Technology That Students Use Most by Christina Moore at Stylus Publishing and use code: MOBILE20 to get 20% off!
Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education by Thomas J. Tobin and Kirsten Behling
Skim, Surface, Dive: Teaching Digital Reading by Jenae Cohn
Teaching Naked by Jose Antonio Bowen
episode 104 edit 1
Sat, Mar 11, 2023 1:41PM • 1:07:44
learning, students, book, udl, mobile, learners, people, thinking, phone, reading, idea, technology, ecologies, class, important, smartphones, barriers, teaching, instructors, podcast
Lillian Nave, Christina Moore
Lillian Nave 00:02
Welcome to think UDL, the universal design for learning podcast where we hear from the people who are designing and implementing strategies with learner variability in mind. I’m your host, Lillian nave. And I’m interested in not just what you’re teaching, learning, guiding and facilitating, but how you design and implement it and why it even matters. Welcome to Episode 104 of the think UDL podcast, more fluid mobile learning with Christina Moore. Christina Moore is the Associate Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Christina has been on the podcast once before to talk about online Faculty Learning Communities way back on episode 38. And she’s back on the podcast again to talk with me about her book mobile mindful Teaching and Learning harnessing the technology that students use most. In today’s episode, we discuss how learners interface with materials instructors and each other through mobile devices and define characteristics of fluid learning. And talk about learning ecologies and how they are all important steps to understanding mobile mindful teaching and learning. We talked about creating ecosystems for learning and how to encourage social learning through well designed learning environments. Christina is full of ideas to take away barriers for students by using the technology they have right at their fingertips. Thank you for listening. Thank you to our sponsor, Texthelp, a global technology company helping people all over the world to understand and to be understood, it has led the way in creating innovative technology for the workplace, and education sectors, including K 12. right through to higher education for the last three decades. So Christina Moore, thank you for joining me again, on the think UDL podcast.
Christina Moore 02:24
Thanks so much for having me back.
Lillian Nave 02:27
Well, it was so good the first time that I was super excited when you told me you were going to write this book. And so I’m really glad we get to talk about mobile mindful teaching and learning. Because, well, I got to read it ahead of time. And I really appreciate that. And, and, and certainly have enjoyed using it and talking to folks about it. So now I want to tell a lot of people more more about it. So since you’ve already been on the podcast, I’ve already asked you about what kind of learner you are. So I wanted to ask you a slightly different question, which is, how are today’s college students different from let’s say, 20 years ago, in terms of accessing information, and actually doing the work of college that’s assigned maybe outside of class, maybe a face to face or even an online synchronous class? How are those students engaging?
Christina Moore 03:21
So it’s, it’s easy to kind of point to the obvious theme of, of what we’re talking about today about mobile technology, which is certainly a factor. But I will say that, I think just as important of a factor are the social and cultural context in which our students use phones. So first, stating some of the biggest things related to technology is of course, the prevalence of smartphones and how they are connected to the internet and how that is getting easier and easier. So the iPhone was launched in 2007. It took a few years, but overall access to that technology is becoming easier and easier. The vast majority if not every single one of our students are likely to have a smartphone. And that is increasingly true, no matter the demographic. Smartphones are a really, really important piece of technology for every aspect of our students lives. And I also make the argument oftentimes for ourselves, even if we consider ourselves different than our students. Another technology piece I think is important is also the prevalence of cloud storage and connectedness between devices. Because even in that early phase of smartphone adaptation, it was still very much this idea of having to carry around your thumb drive or your USB drive, yeah. Whereas now, we’re very much used to being able to access whatever we need with whatever device we’re on, which we’ll probably talk about later connects to this principle of fluid learning that’s that I find to be really important on this topic. Overall, not just with smartphones, but tech ownership, and the gap between different demographics across income, socioeconomic status, race is closing, which is a great thing. And for folks who want to look at this on their own, I find that the Pew Research Center’s mobile fax sheet is a really good place to start. It’s where I started thinking about this. They have really good they update them every couple of years facts about mobile phone use, and then really practical articles that provide more context on that data. But I will say that the the context around our students is probably just as important. Students have many more life demands. They are, you know, we still use the labels traditional and non traditional, but those labels are starting to almost make less and less sense over time, because our students are different ages are caregivers, whether that’s have children, or have parents or other family members. The economic crunch of scarcity mindset around employment, this idea of how high the stakes are to succeed in college, but also the expenses going higher and higher all of the time. So all of this is forcing students to use whatever time and resources they have to engage with their course material. And really what has been the calling charge for me to write this book is our two things is first that we’re not meeting that need, students want to learn, even if it’s in a small amount of time, they want to stay in contact with their coursework, they want to do a good job, sometimes, they just want to get through and do what they need to do, which sometimes we need to respect. But by trying to ignore this mobile learning aspect, and tell students that we don’t want them doing anything on their phones, we’re losing out on a huge learning opportunity. And it doesn’t have to, we can find some entry points to at least explore what’s available. Because I mean, this I was sort of my own guinea pig on this, there really are more accessible options for us as instructors than we might think. So one of the the things that I keep encouraging us as educators to think about is that the fact that students are wanting to do at least some of their learning activities, and thinking through their phones is not a deficit. If we look at this as an asset of hope students could actually be thinking about my course, more than the two hours before class, when they are just doing everything they can and cramming it all in, we know that that does not bring a curious reflective student to the precious little bit of time that we have in a live class session, or when we have our students attention. So when we start thinking about it, and that way of like, oh, students could actually like, be thinking about this every day, multiple times a day, and then they could be very well prepared, when they do have that precious hour to actually sit down and do something more complex. That’s when we can really get excited about what we can do by what I’m calling mobile mindful learning, which is more of an entry point to thinking about how what we do can actually work really well on phones, even if it’s not everything that we do in our course.
Lillian Nave 09:32
Yeah. You know, as you were explaining so much of what I see as I’m teaching. Now, I was thinking about my college experience, which was a little more than 20 years ago, but was such a we used to joke around we call it a womb with a view. You know, it was a little college campus and we’re somewhat divorced from the outside world. I don’t remember watching the News that often, you know, I think maybe by the end, we were all watching the Thursday night, you know, friends episodes together or something, but it was so disconnected. And it was it had that dreamy quality of being away to just focus on your studies and having time right to do that. And that’s, that’s just not our world at all anymore. And I do think that some of our old ways of doing things are still relying on that. And it’s just not our students, they’re, they’re still connected with, if they are white with folks back home, many of our students are still at home, commuting or being a part of that. Two communities, in essence, their school community and their home community. And therefore, they have to take that five minutes that they’re riding on the bus to get to class, you know, to look at some things, it’s not just the item and set aside to half an hour here or an hour there. Because it is just, there’s just so much more pressure. And I even remember, like halfway through mobile phones, for me, it used to be like the Blackberry, you know, that they actual buttons, right for a phone and, and I remember thinking, who would actually text This is so dumb, you know, I will just call someone okay, we’re talking about our generation here. And now Now it’s more like, why would I call somebody why I’m gonna send a quick text because it’s much more efficient. And, and the really, that’s, but that is those are our lives now is that efficiency? And that’s why I was like, Oh, my goodness, you have just hit a nerve with this. With this book, it’s really a different landscape. And are we as professors as instructors? Are we changing enough with that landscape? I think this is going to help us. So you brought up something already, and I’m like, oh, whoa, I’m getting there, this mobile mindful learning, I would love for you to explain it. And you make a differentiation between mobile first learning, so yeah. Can you explain what mobile mindful learning is?
Christina Moore 12:15
Then? Yes. So um, and I’ll, I’ll sort of step back to talk about mobile learning. Because that term has been around basically is, as long as mobile phones have been around even non smartphones, although what we’ll focus more on on smartphones. So mobile learning, for the most part has to do with learning that you do with a mobile device. So it can be tablets, but for the most part, we’re we’re talking about smartphones. Although mobile learning, and I try to tease this out a little bit in the book, it can also just be how we learn in motion as it’s through mobility. And, and then that way, I also talked about how mobile mindful learning doesn’t have to be just hunkered down with hunched shoulders over a really small screen. It can also be okay, I want to be engaging in thinking and note taking, while I’m on a walk are placed that play space in place conscious learning of I want to I recognize that learning is happening, not only while I’m out here, but because I’m out in this specific place, how can I capture that. And that’s when a smartphone actually helps enhance our ability to be more mobile in our learning. So that’s the way that I think of mobile learning. But of course, it does have to do a lot with using phones for what they offer. Mobile First learning. And this really is focused on web design principles. But it’s the idea that, in order to make sure that your design is accessible across devices, you first start with what is going to work well, on a mobile phone. And from there, you then make sure that it it works well on the other devices, too, with the idea being that if you don’t design for mobile first, you’re very likely going to have to be reactive in your web design, because you might design something for larger screen, and then it’s not responsive on an actual mobile phone. So that’s the idea with mobile first. And while I do talk about mobile first things at certain points in the book, that is not what I’m going for, with this book, to be a little more nuanced, more of a beginning approach with the potential to get into mobile first, if that’s where you want to go. So I use the term mobile Mind full as sort of an entry point. It’s like mobile learning ish, or mobile learning conscious. So it’s, it’s, I thought that the term was important because really, we’ve been talking about mobile learning. For decades, and we’ve been saying this is going to change education, this is, you know, K through throughout through forever learning. It’s going to change everything. And yeah, that just hasn’t hit that critical mass in a way that I think a lot of us have expected to. And I’ve been to many conferences over the last 15 years that have had speakers who say, Yes, this is going to revolutionize education. But really, I think that the tension is that professors feel like it’s a, it’s a huge learning gap to overcome. We’re very aware of the negative connotations and the understandable struggles we have with phones in the classroom and distraction and shorter attention spans and everything that comes along with it. And then there’s also this feeling that mobile apps and certain affordances are just not always very fitting with our educational contexts. So with mobile mindful, I’m saying, let’s at least start to explore the possibilities, suspend that idea of everything that’s wrong with phones, and why it’s not going to work. And instead, just start with curiosity of paying attention. So that’s the word mindful of how we ourselves are using technology for our own learning for our own work. Do we actually know how students are using their phones? What do our courses look like on a phone? What what activities would actually benefit if we’re being mindful about our design that actually work well in smaller pieces or while someone is on the go? So it’s, it’s by asking questions that prompt are noticing that help us see where there’s possibility, even if the changes seem really small and gradual at first, I actually think that, once we really look at what type of learning actually has higher quality and the impact on a phone, maybe more than sometimes sitting down with a print book, or sitting down in front of a computer, I think we can actually get really excited about it. And honestly, I think it’s, it’s very similar to the change that has taken place somewhat in the last 10 years with online learning. I think a lot of instructors had that same feeling of like little Yeah, I’m applying courses. Like who would ever want to do that you would just need so much technical, technological knowledge and skill. And that’s not me. But then when some people started, you know, little by little, they were like, oh, with if I have really good instructional videos, I can ever really clear, crisp message and use in class time to actually watch them work on this concept. Like we we now know, really commonly as flipped learning. Like, there are so many people who are online instructors who love teaching online. But it took a little while to even figure out who they are as an online educator. But once they, they, they started to make some connections have like, oh, man, my discussions are so much better online, like whatever it is, it’s something different for everyone, just like all of our classes are. I mean, there’s so many people who never thought that they would be excited about online learning, but then they even get to the point where they’re like, I could never do this. It’s a face to face course. They may still love teaching online, but they recognize where online learning has given them something and sometimes even improved their their face to face learning. I honestly think that the same thing can be before us that same process, when we start really understanding how certain aspects of mobile learning actually lead to better quality learning. And, and, and I my real goal in this book is to help us have some accessible entry points to considering this. And I, I look forward to I’m sure people are going to read this and have brilliant ideas that I haven’t even thought of yet. Honestly, that’s the goal of this book is it’s an invitation. It’s a starting point. I hope people will do much, much better things with
Lillian Nave 20:09
it. Yeah, it does. It filled me with a whole bunch of possibilities, like, wow, I could be doing so much more, or I could be doing some things differently, that would solve some of the problems that I find already. And that’s what I liked. It was it was really full of possibilities. And lots of examples too. And we’re not even going to get into all the examples. People can see that in the book, but it was, I thought really hopeful, actually about all the things that we can do. So you and I have a big background in UDL together. And I know that you have an extensive Universal Design for Learning background, and I wanted to know, how did that UDL play into or lead into your book.
Christina Moore 20:58
So I would not have gone anywhere near this topic without the framework of UDL. And I find that that happens. During your UDL, it happens all the time, where Universal Design for Learning leads me into directions of certain modalities or technologies of seeing the possibility there because honestly, I’m not a very tech adventurous person. That’s why whenever i i find myself writing and researching online collaboration, or different types of technologies, I’m like, How did I end up here, like, I’m not a tech person. But it’s really because of the access to learning and what opens up but just, you know, really well how we should be approaching any use of technology and education, the educational goal should be first. But really, there was a very specific starting point. I know you and probably listeners here know very well. Tom Tobin and KEARSON Banelings. reach everyone teach everyone their book on UDL and higher education. And I was reading their chapter meet the mobile learners. So if you have the book at home library, has it go back to that chapter really take a look at it. They very convincingly really similar to what I’m doing in the book, make the argument that if we care about learning, we have to pay attention to mobile technology. And they really well lay out how other industries are being mindful of mobile learning and are responding to it. And that higher ed institutions really need to do so in kind if we want students to learn well, which of course, we want them to do. So that chapter was really along with a couple of other things. Igniting point from like, Okay, we really do have to consider this. So how can we do it, and they also introduced, introduced to me to Berlin things, fluid learning principles, which I think we’ll talk about later. But I started to explore that more. And I started to think about what my approach would be for myself as an instructor, but also as a faculty developer, how I would help bridge this gap of the intimidation, we might feel around mobile learning. So those are a couple of clear ways. But really, in the book itself, I take a UDL approach. And that’s that’s part of the reason why. I mean, I think having a mobile first approach to college courses is a great endeavor that will teach us a lot and I know educators who are doing that work, but it wasn’t going to be my strength to approach it that way. So I still approach mobile learning as fitting into the landscape of everything else that we’re doing already, which I think is an important UDL framework idea that that students access, what type of learning best fits their situation, their motivation, etc. So I and that’s why throughout the book, whenever I’m talking about mobile options, people are surprised I’m still encouraging offering offline options and stock options so that students still feel like they don’t have to be put on to their phones if they are not ready to, but we’re also recognizing the reality that many students are trying to access their learning that way and for us to acknowledge that reality and think Think about how it all fits together.
Lillian Nave 25:02
So you’re saying options and choice and flexibility? Oh my, that sounds like UDL. Oh, yes. Oh, I don’t we’re not we’re not in the old I won’t say we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re just not in that old way of thinking anymore. Once you’re in UDL land, its options and choice and flexibility ally. So yeah, so you’ve mentioned fluid learning. And I thought this was really important. And it was also really helpful in my thinking. So can you explain what you mean, when you talk about fluid learning? What is that?
Christina Moore 25:40
Yeah. So this was something that Tobin and baling cited in their book, it was an edgy clause, article, article by Berlin thing. So that’s something that folks listening can read on their own, because I’ll go over the basics of it. But it’s probably something that that would be used,
Lillian Nave 26:01
I’ll make sure that it’s in our resources for this episode, I’ve got it ready.
Christina Moore 26:06
So the, how I would summarize, fluid learning is the idea that you are designing a learning environment so that whatever your learners are doing can be accessed in different modalities. And also whatever work the learner is doing, can be connected and accessed at a later time or on a different device. So it’s thinking about how can I include learning materials, activities, or just set up activities so that students can, can have this continuity and have so it’s making intentional connections between low tech high tech across different devices and even non tech to an extent. So I think one concrete way I would describe this as it relates to mobile mindful learning, is starting to think, Okay, if, if a learner is maybe doing a reading on their, their phone for, for your course, a shorter reading, and they have some ideas, they have some responses that they’re thinking of, they’re connecting it to a life experience, or they’re even connecting it to something the class discussed yesterday, or something else that was read, how well equipped as the student to capture that idea, and put it somewhere that they can access later. And then when they can sit down in front of a computer, they can look at these notes that they’ve taken on their phone, and they can start putting together a blog post if if the class tends to work on blog. So just as, as one example, so thinking about how we are, if we really pay attention to learning, we’re kind of working on ideas all the time. So how can we capture that? I don’t always love the word capture, but I think it works well enough. How can we make that possible, so that we don’t feel like oh, I have this idea, I wish I was in front of my notebook, or I wish I was in front of my laptop. Because then it goes. And then if we don’t have that connection, you know, we have students who finally can work on something, but they’re looking at a blank screen and a blank document, and then they don’t know where to start. We’d much prefer them to see their collected thoughts and be like, Okay, let’s get to work. I see some ideas, I can start putting some stuff down. So within things, fluid learning qualities, he identifies five things to think about as far as whether you are creating learning content, activities, whatever that are fluid. The first is neutral, meaning that no matter what type of device they access to done, it’s likely going to scale really well because there’s that formatting that’s very specific to certain website platform or device granulars the idea that it can be broken up into smaller pieces. So thinking about okay, you know, the really easier example is when we have a video that we want students to watch, especially if we create one, can we rather than sharing it as a 25 minute video Oh, does it work into four to six minute chunks that covers specific ideas so that students have more choice on whether they’re just going to watch it all at once or whether they watch two here and three there. The third principle is ubiquity. So the idea that you are allowing learners to access based on their environment that they can easily find it wherever they are. Portable, I always think of like Cloud Storage. So the idea that whatever they’ve come up with can be transported or easily accessed somewhere else. And then the last one is interactive, that they can easily connect an idea to another source or another person and share it out with people and then the book. I continually come back to this. But I also lay out an example of how this worked in my own as I started to pay attention to my own mobile, mindful learning experiences and how I did that through my phone. And what worked well, within these
Lillian Nave 31:16
principles. Yeah, that was like a definition of flexibility. All of those things like in that UDL lens, when when you were going through all of them. And when I saw them in the book, I was like, oh, that’s, that pretty much explains when UDL says, Let’s have flexible options. This is Oh, how do you get there? Yeah, so I really appreciated all those five different things to be thinking about. Because even if, if we miss out on one of them, it’s a barrier for our students. And I remember thinking, oh, I need to get to my computer in order to write this down. Like that was a lot of my life, I was like, Oh, I got to, you know, move, remove myself from whatever I’m doing now to get to have this space in place, and time and device or whatever that I can do this on, and how much better it would have been if I could have had that portability. Because, as you mentioned, like, we are thinking and learning all the time, and so much of my learning. And if I’m thinking about maybe redesigning something, I remember redesigning an entire grading scale while I was on a hike, you know, in the woods. Yeah, and I didn’t have a sticker to egg to write it down, you know, with that, and so just thinking about making it easier for our learners to make that connection, because they are so busy. And life is much more complex and complicated. And so not putting, again, that’s a barrier that they’ll be able to interact and do it in a time sensitive way, was a big a big point for me to think about my online learners at this at this point. And making sure they have the ability to, to learn barrier free. And I was like, Oh, this does.
Christina Moore 33:14
Yeah. And I’ll mention two things that are hopefully a little bit of a hook and interest for people who are, are listening. So one practice that I cover, because it was a part of my own mobile mindful learning journey, and I think is helpful is the idea of how to curate learning when you’re especially on your phone. So the idea of, okay, if I’m reading something, a short article that, you know, light bulb, you’re like, oh, I want to share this with my students, or even if you’re on social media, and someone is sharing this great thread or article, and you’re like, Oh, this is someone speaking from their experience to something that has been lost on my students, I really want to share it. What do you do in that moment? To make that meaningful for that future context? Do you have an easy way to share articles to curate things you come across on social media? And I think having that pause of seeing where you do have a process that works for you, or where those barriers are, is huge for yourself? Because I think most of us who are smartphone users do have that experience. So in the book, I’m trying to offer options or at least a process for finding what’s going to work for you. And then I’ll also say as an example of mobile, mindful learning, enhancing your ability to also be offline because I do think that that’s important. I’m not a proponent of us just Being on the screen forever. Let’s take print reading as an example. When we’re reading something in print and Janae, Cohn wrote the foreword for this book. And she talks a lot in her book on teaching digital reading about being intentional about our reading choices and the medium that we use. I began to think a lot more about when I read imprint and when I don’t, and how those modalities can work differently. But people may even be noticing and on their phones now, but there are increasing options for when you’re reading something in print to digitize that print copy, sometimes just using your camera, but also using apps like Google lens that will be able to actually take a picture and it will decipher that text. And then you can copy it and put it somewhere digital. I found that to be huge at some points for note taking. Some of those are even good with handwritten notes. So when you know that you want to be offline, that is a valid choice, but how do you put it in a way that you will be able to use later and whenever is is intentional for that. So those are just a couple of things I explore in the book that I think are super practical for us as instructors and First.
Lillian Nave 36:31
Yeah, so you pair that fluid learning idea. closely. It’s like UDL, fluid learning and then learning ecologies. So they’re all closely related, and you introduce that learning ecologies term in the book. Can you explain what learning ecologies are and what role they played in your thinking about mobile mindful learning?
Christina Moore 36:55
Yeah, so. So learning ecologies is really understanding the whole ecosystem of how we learn. So I feel like this is continuing to get more of an aerial view, a wider perspective of how our environments influence our learning. Because we tend to look at the learning that we do for college to always be in this formal setting, almost even our study sessions are formalized this idea of we’re learning based on a certain syllabus curriculum, with set course learning outcomes, etc. So, so we’re very familiar with the formal learning environment. But what learning ecologies proposes is the fact that we learn in other realms as well. And the the three that are often named are formal, non formal, and informal, which non formal and informal sound quite alike. But non formal, is, traditionally it’s organized, but it’s not like accredited. So it’s less formal. So non formal, I think of things like Faculty Learning Communities, or groups that they get together, and they meet maybe something like a book club, but it’s not to get a certificate or degree, or something like that. So it’s organized but not super formal in that way. And then informal are the things that happen are the ways that we learn somewhat incidentally, we, we may be in environments with people where there’s there’s not a set learning agenda. There’s not a set place and time to discuss something. But we just gather things based on our environment. And I think social media is probably a really good example, especially those in your Facebook groups, and Twitter, LinkedIn, the things that we just grasp from there. So I find this to be important too, when thinking about mobile mindful learning, because our phones connect us to all sorts of learning, such as certain people on social media, people in certain listservs or groups. So casting a wider net of how we learn together and with other people, I find is really enhanced when we think about what we’ll learn.
Lillian Nave 39:47
Yeah. And and our students are also learning in those ways, you know, so, even though we are in that formal setting, I know my students are learning lots of things on like, I can think of craftsy. You know, they’re like, Oh, they’re learning how to do other things in different ways. And of course, learning from each other. And I’ve probably done the most learning in the last 10 years on social media, you know, that’s, that’s definitely where I have met amazing brains and encountered the most life changing ideas is through. Yeah, that kind of thing. So we would want it for our students, and they have this incredible little computer in their hands that that they can do that with.
Christina Moore 40:42
And I think like the learning in college, Jesus, the idea, all these things that connect, we tend to look at them as very separate. And something else I discuss in the book that we have to work with students through. It’s just because they are quote, unquote, digital natives. People who have only known the world with smartphones, even likely now, it doesn’t mean that they are expert mobile, by any means. And that’s why in the book, I’m, you know, reminding that we can’t just make options available and students will go to it, it’s not that if you build it, they will come sort of thing. So I think by seeing this whole ecosystem of like, okay, this is what you’re seeing out in the world that relates to what we’re talking about in the course, how does that thing inform what we’re doing in the course? And how does what you’ve learned in the course inform how you read that object? Or how you interpret that situation? Or, you know, so it’s, it’s not just acknowledging that, yes, this is one bucket, I learned. And this is another bucket, this is another bucket, but how all of them are connected and depend on one.
Lillian Nave 42:03
And one of our UDL principles to is, or guidelines is thinking about authenticity, right? If we want our students really to be motivated and engaged, we need to be incorporating authentic learning, assessments and learning tasks. And, and I think we have to move through those learning ecologies in order to make our classes authentic, because if it just exists in that formal, I’m using air quotes on a podcast and that formal learning ecology, where it’s for a grade in the classroom, and then often it’s just between the student and the professor, instructor of the course, it loses what could be a great motivation and authenticity, because it really does have a world in which it, you know, lives and actually has meaning with other people. And here’s how, like, what you’re learning in this class is actually really going to help you in the long term or to help you in whatever profession you’re interested in, or to help you communicate with your family that you’d like to improve upon, right, or something like that. So well, so we’ve just gotten into kind of my next question, which is about social learning. And, and I really appreciated first of all, that you’ve brought up the idea that digital natives, we make a lot of assumptions about our students and, and we can’t, we can’t do that we can’t just think they know everything about it. And we still need to be guiding our students are introducing them to ways to use technology if we’re going to be using that in our class. But the mobile mindful learning that you’re talking about, has the opportunity to increase social learning outside of class time, whether it’s face to face or if it’s like a synchronous online time or something like that. So I’m interested in how you think that mobile mindful learning can increase social learning.
Christina Moore 44:06
So I think it makes sense with mobile, mindful learning or mobile learning in general, we often think of going back to the fluid learning principle of granularity of, of how we can put things into smaller units so that they can be broken up more reduce cognitive load, and things like that. And I think the social learning piece connects really like nicely to both fluid learning and learning ecologies. So and I think back to Jose Antonio Bowens book naked teaching, were actually I mean much of the book he is advocating for minimal technology in a synchronous classroom environment, which you know, I will I get into, you know, pros and cons or whatever, I think a lot of those points are valid. But what I think, in particular, was helpful for me in thinking about this book is that tech is actually great for keeping us connected, when we are not together at the same time in place. Even if our teaching is totally on campus, we have such a little time together. I mean, the general expectation that we still hang on to what we’re not sure if it’s realistic anymore is that for every hour, a student is in the classroom, they should be doing two hours of outside, yeah, independent. So on the surface that feels very solitary, this idea of, okay, we have a little bit of time together, but then go on out there and figure it out, maybe form study groups, that would be great. But, you know, again, paying attention to how time crunched we are even that is really hard to expect, it’s, it’s that womb with a view that, that not everyone currently has. So I think that that’s where the social learning piece can be so powerful outside of the classroom, because it offers opportunity for the class to be talking with one another about what they’re learning almost in real time, what connections they’re making, what responses they’re having. And I think that that can really help keep the wheels turning so that when they do come to class, they’re, they’re really ready to talk about more complex things than they might have been otherwise. And in the book, I, I walk through kind of a hypothetical example of, of how this would work. And I, I lay out a student who, for their coursework, they’re listening to a podcast episode about racial discrimination in in housing and being able to buy a house. And so I imagined that the student listens to half of it in the car. And, and then they maybe listen to the other half of it on a walk. And then they realized while they’re listening to it, that they know of someone who went through a very similar experience. So I began to imagine like, how often does that happen for our students? And what do they do with that moment, and I think if we had, you know, just using as an example, rather than just using a learning management system discussion forum to facilitate this conversation, which we know, you know, going back to authenticity, it can be hard to to make that feel authentic and accessible in the moment. If we use a somewhat private communication platform, some people use Slack or discord, or other tools like that to, if there is an easy place for students to go where they know, they’re, they can write a thought about something they just read, and make that connection and make it visible to others. By if that student is able to use voice to text or type out two or three sentences sharing that experience, they can immediately see quick reactions from their classmates maybe replies that say, Yeah, you know, similar story, then you’re increasing their thinking opportunity because you’re helping them make a connection that they might not have otherwise made. And this can all be done like while the student is literally in motion while while they’re heading to the next class or heading to an appointment. So if us as instructors can mindfully Think of how to make that possible. And we might have an assignment that looks something like listen to this podcast episode. And write you know, share on this channel or in this space, connections you make either to your life or to class content or something. And so if you if you make it something that is smaller inform, we we may be wired at this point are conditioned to think, well, students aren’t doing a lot of important thinking unless they’re including citations and they’re sitting down and they’re able to get something that’s very polished. I think if we see okay, they are reading each other’s responses. They have quick ways to acknowledge one another, they can add to it, I think we would get around a lot of the struggle we have of like, post once replied twice that we get and we’re like, the students don’t really seem into it, it seems inauthentic. So that was, that was one example of how I think about mobile, how mobile learning can increase more of that social learning that we really want. But using the tools we have, it just doesn’t always happen at quite the level that we know it should. I think that mobile mindful lens can really help us think of this. And as just one more example. And this is one of the activities that I propose in the book is the idea of doing a, what has been called on Twitter as a slow chat. This is sort of synchronous to us showing Michael Morris’s term, it’s somewhat a synchronous, but it’s in a timeframe enough that it feels live like you are tapping into a discussion that is happening right now. So those who are on Twitter, a slow chat is generally the format of someone is a facilitator. And they usually share about five questions, one question maybe every 10 minutes or something like that. And then over the course of an hour, people are answering that question. The, you know, people are obviously discussing with one another, but the facilitator is sort of like, you know, trying to organize things and be responsive to people. And what’s really accessible about this model is that, and this is what I discovered in my dissertation research, which was a lot on the social learning of faculty as it relates to their teaching development. They really valued that Twitter provided this sort of model, because it was something that was accessible to parents of young children who were just not going to be able to get on to a zoom call on a Saturday morning, but they could do a slow chat, no problem they were tuned in. And I think the same is true for a lot of students and for how much more students are on social media, I think that they would gravitate and thrive on that sort of discussion model. So one of my activity ideas, and this could even be done through a learning management system, but might work a little bit better and a more mobile friendly discussion space, is to do a slow chat of your own and say, okay, you know, two students every week are going to decide the questions. They’re going to choose a timeframe, you know, do what you can to respond to these questions during this hour. And just like engage, get in there, if you can’t do it during that hour, come back and, you know, synthesize those responses. And you know, what were your three takeaways from reading? What was unfolding? From your classes? Discussion? I mean, this is what I’m remembering of what I wrote. But But yeah, so I think that’s one example of how when we start thinking about how we learned from other people, how we learn from each other, and what is unique and thrives about that on mobile devices. I think it can really start to crack open some of our creative educator thinking on this. And again, back to UDL principles. I’m always thinking about, can this work also on computers? And other technology? If we do have students who really just don’t want to do this? Yeah, that that’s a valid preference, and that we should of course, design it so that it’s, it can still be done on computer? Yeah,
Lillian Nave 54:01
that’s a great idea. And I have learned so much on those slow chats. And I have been at, you know, high school, swim meets, and other places where I or in the stands of a soccer game, where I’m like, Oh, I can answer that question. Oh, that’s really interesting. And otherwise, would not, as you said, not have been on a zoom call, it was a much more flexible way for me to engage, or at the end can look back and say, Oh, look at all this, this great information that I can glean from. So you actually had a whole bunch of wonderful ideas, or you do have a whole bunch of wonderful ideas in in the book. And we’re not even getting into all of them in today’s discussion, but setting up you know why it’s so important. So, by now, maybe our listeners are like, Oh, this sounds like a really good idea, but I’m not sure how to go about it. So what advice or maybe reassurance? Would you give someone who’s hesitant about jumping into mobile mindful teaching?
Christina Moore 55:08
So I’m there with you is the first thing I would say. I mean, I honestly because I, I sort of answered the call that Tobin and baling had in their, their UDL book chapter. I was like, Okay, I don’t immediately love this, but but I see it. And it’s important. So how can I find my way in? So this book, in a lot of ways, was that journey and sort of laying out the path or the multiple paths, so that others can take it without having to research and write? Yeah, thank you. So I do have Yeah, I have a whole section. On this mantra of starting with self, as I referred to earlier, with how much of a shift, we had to many of us had to experience with online learning. This is probably going to be new territory in some ways. So we really should first pay attention to ourselves as mobile learners. Even if we’re like no learner, I don’t take online courses on my phone, I don’t try to do these things. Pay attention to how you use your phone for things that are important and productive to you as whatever work you do, or whatever learning you do. And it may be true fact that you do not use your phone for learning very often. But I think even the start with self is asking, why don’t you? Where would be a good opportunity for you to learn on the go? And where do you encounter barriers to that? Is it not being able to find the right content at the right time, going earlier? Is it not being able to save things in a way that when you do have time in a waiting room that you can easily get to a list of things you have been wanting to read. So that start with self section? It really is introducing some basics of mobile learning, but it is also put in a way of like, try this. Do you know how the Share feature works on a phone? And how can you use that with the apps that you already have on your phone and you’re familiar with. I’m really approaching this with trying to refer to apps that are probably familiar to you, they’re probably computer based programs that you already use, with the idea that you’re likely not going to have to download and learn all sorts of new apps. That’s not doesn’t tend to be my approach to technology. And that’s not required. And hopefully, you know, and I plan on writing more blog posts to sort of follow up on this, I do hope that those who are more tech adventurous, you know, will be able to help, you know, provide that next step. But But this approach is really focusing more on who we are as moving. People who want to learn wherever we are with the time we have, because I do think most of us will find that we there are mobile learners more than we acknowledge and or that we wish we could learn more about a certain topic. But we just haven’t thought of an intentional way to structure that out. So I honestly think that you could get a lot out of this to just make yourself a mobile learner. But of course during that process, because teaching is an important part of our identities and their work. While we discover things for ourselves, of course, we’re going to then be like, oh, yeah, this would work well in class. This is this is an idea I might want to hold on to when I’m ready to get to that level. So I, I really encourage and it’s very fruitful to first start with yourself. And the rest will come later as far as how this is going to apply in the classroom. And I do provide really concrete simple things to start with when you do want to think about this for your students like does your learning management system at your college have a mobile app?
Lillian Nave 59:51
Right? That’s a big one.
Christina Moore 59:53
Have you ever downloaded it? I asked my elearning office See if they could grab stats on how many students access the Moodle as our learning management system, how many of them access it on a mobile browser, meaning they’re not using an app. It’s just like Google Chrome, Safari, whatever. They’re using a browser on their phone to open the course page, or how many are using the app. And actually their campus, it was half and half, which I kind of found interesting. Like, I don’t totally know the reasons why, but they might not have known there was a mobile app. I encourage taking a test drive, how does your course look on a phone? What actually works and looks better than you might have expected? I think, sometimes we think nothing in our courses would scale well on a phone, but it’s getting better and better all the time. So I think looking through what your course looks like, you might be like, Oh, this actually displays just fine. And oh, if I just made this more granular, then it might actually be a good learning activity that I can feel better about students doing on their phone, and then I can direct them to do that. Go through your syllabus on a phone, go through your readings and see what’s already working well and see where there could be tweaks that are made, and then talk with your students about downloading the mobile app, and how it can be good for getting pop up reminders on their phones, we know that email is a really difficult way to communicate with students, even if we really try to get them on. It’s just not as immediate. And so it’s good to provide students really intentional options. And yeah, so I would just say, like the skepticism around mobile learnings, some of it is totally valid. But I’m inviting us to suspend that a little bit that did not yet just suspend it a little bit, acknowledge it. And be curious at the same time, like, what could work? What could I do? That is really minimal. But that is actually a good option for students. And what I think is sort of like the selling point for me, especially as we, the more we know about learning, the more that we know that having our students engage in more frequent retrieval practice, getting a really solid grasp of certain concepts and being able to practice them and get immediate feedback, through flashcards or quizzes or other things repeatedly, even daily and multiple times a day really helps strengthen the learning that students do. And they are more prepared to sit down and have a conversation about these things, because they have been thinking about them. And that’s the other thing that probably should have mentioned at the very beginning about who our learners are. I’m always really, really skeptical of the whole people these days, Young kids these days, mentality because we are still the same humans. And even with all the crap that sometimes our students have to go through, they want to have an authentic learning experience. They don’t want to waste their time, they don’t want to waste their money, they want to have good learning opportunities. So they’re on their phones, because they even if sometimes they’re just trying to do the minimum, they they want to succeed, they want to things so if we think about from that asset framing, rather than just as a deficit, I think you can get excited, you’re like, oh my gosh, I could actually get students to like, do that. If I could find a way to make it more manageable and accessible for students, like they would actually do it, they would actually, you know, look at this vocabulary every day. Like when you start thinking about it in those terms. It can get really exciting as far as what students can learn, because they are just accessing it over and over again. So that is a motivating that to me. And it may be a journey, but I think we can do a lot more than I think we think we can in this
Lillian Nave 1:04:46
room. Well, there you go taking away barriers. Again, just what you do, and what you’ve done in this book. So that having that accessibility and being able to do those readings and and ways that offering ways for your students for all of our students to get access to the material is like a big, you know, number one principle and UDL is make taking away those barriers and giving access. So again, why I love this book and I have always loved what you have done in your, in your work so far. And so thank you I just appreciate the chance to talk to you again thank you for sharing your expertise and and providing so many great examples and helping us think about taking away barriers for our learners because now we know a little bit more about them and and how they act in a in the environment now. So thanks Christina for being with me today. You can follow the think UDL podcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out when new episodes will be released. And also see transcripts and additional materials at the think udl.org website. Thank you again to our sponsor, Texthelp Texthelp is focused on helping all people learn, understand and communicate through the use of digital education and accessibility tools. Texthelp and its people are working towards a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers to learning and succeeding, with over 50 million users worldwide. The Texthelp suite of products include Read and Write equates to an orbit note, which work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G Suite, enabling them to be integrated quickly into any classroom or workspace with ease. Texthelp has changed the lives of millions worldwide and strives to impact the literacy and understanding of 1 billion people by 2030. Additional support for the podcast is made possible by Appalachian State University where if you call it Appalachian, I’ll throw in Appalachia. The music on the podcast was performed by the Odyssey quartet comprised of Rex Shepherd, David Pate, Bill Folwell and Jose Coachez, and I am your host, Lillian Nave. Thank you for joining us on The Think UDL podcast