UNBC professor talks new teaching techs
A professor of education at the University of Northern British Columbia is documenting the way new technology is affecting teaching and learning around the world, and his work has implications for the ways post-secondary institutions provide for the educational needs of Canadians.
Andrew Kitchenham recently published two books on mobile and blended learning with IGI Publishing, the world’s leading publisher of technology-related texts. The works are the first-ever books on blended and mobile learning from an international perspective and demonstrate his established reputation in the e-learning field.
Mobile learning refers to the delivery of courses via methods such as mobile phone, SMS, or iPad. Blended learning is a mix of traditional “in-person” education, and more modern methods that include the use of Elluminate and Blackboard software as well as videoconferencing. The books present the research of 44 international e-learning researchers from 12 countries.
“So far there have only been books on American studies on these types of learning,” says Kitchenham of his recently published texts, Blended Learning across Disciplines and Models for Interdisciplinary Mobile Learning. “But countries such as Malaysia, for example, are way out in front of North America and there are already far more mobile phones in India than there are land lines. This is fundamentally changing how people access information around the world.”
“As blended learning continues to mature and embrace innovative technologies, books such as this can help us reflect on the experiences of teachers and learners in an increasingly complex technological and social environment,” says David Parsons, editor in chief of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning and a lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand, who wrote the forewards to both books. “The (mobile volume) addresses a range of important contemporary issues in mobile learning research, and is a valuable resource to the research community.”
Grant Potter, UNBC’s coordinator of E-learning, advises university faculty on how to introduce mobile and blended learning into their curriculums and was one of the contributors to Kitchenham’s text on mobile learning. Other UNBC contributors include UNBC grad Dawn Stevens and Northern Medical Program professor Geoff Payne.
“UNBC continues to be a major contributor in e-learning,” says Potter, who recently participated in consultations with other educational leaders in B.C. to form the Premier’s Technology Council Vision for Education report. “When you look at the infrastructure we already have in place with UNBC regional campuses across northern B.C., the technology we use to bring people together at these campuses, and federal government initiatives to increase broadband access to northern and rural homes in Canada we are well positioned to innovate blended, mobile, and distributed teaching and learning.”
“Add to that the rising cost of education and its associated expenses, and it is increasingly apparent that mobile and blended learning could become even more the norm for post-secondary education. UNBC is poised to be a world leader in e-learning,” says Kitchenham.