Virtual School Meanderings

October 26, 2016

PTDEA 2016 – Mobile Learning for Flexible Delivery of Education

ptdea-2016The fourth session that I am blogging at Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting is:

Mobile Learning for Flexible Delivery of Education
Dr. Mohamed Ally

Young and upcoming generations of learners are using emerging technology on a daily basis. These students demand that their education and support be provided through such technologies, and suggests that it is critical that we, as educators, adopt a sense of urgency to transform our education system accordingly using mobile technologies.

Dr. Ally proposes a pedagogical model where the learning is learner-centred. For example, problem-based learning can be used to develop students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Learning materials can take the form of games to challenge students so that they can be motivated to learn. A variety of delivery formats can be used.

Mobile learning can be used to deliver education to students any place and at any time. The blended learning approach, which combines face-to- face instruction and mobile learning, can be used to provide flexibility in learning. A flipped classroom—where students learn theory outside the classroom, and develop the high-level and affective skills in the classroom or lab alongside a teacher—can also be used.

Students can also download mobile learning apps to learn anywhere and at any time. They can use mobile technology to access Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at their own convenience to further their own knowledge and skills.

This presentation will describe how mobile learning can be integrated in education to transform education for the new generations of students and provide accessible education for all.

Mohamed’s session was interesting, particularly when looking at how mobile learning is impacting education around the world.  Its relationship to K-12 distance, online and blended learning – particularly within the Canadian context (which is who comprised the entire audience) – there wasn’t a lot to report or not.

A couple of interesting factoids that I did hear (all tangential in nature):

  • UNESCO has a goal of educating all students with basic grade level of ~5 or 6, which would require 190,000 new schools to reach this goal
  • it would cost an additional US$19 billion to provide an education to all of the students in the world that do not currently have access to education
  • at present, the world collectively spends US$2 trillion in education
  • education organizations should develop mobile learning strategic plans
  • there should be a national organization in Canada to provide a framework and standards for mobile learning, help guide funding for research and development projects
  • some brief details from K-12 mobile learning projects that Mohamed conducted in Brazil and Pakistan

As you can see from these examples, from the perspective of people interested in education it was an interesting and fascinating session.  From the perspective of those providing and regulating K-12 distance, online, and blended learning in Canada probably less useful.

PTDEA 2016 – Designing & Facilitating Blended Learning

ptdea-2016The third session that I am blogging at Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting is:

Designing & Facilitating Blended Learning
Dr. Norm Vaughan


Dr. Norm Vaughan—alongside Marti Cleveland-Innes and Randy Garrison—has developed a series of principles to design, facilitate, and direct blended-educational experiences. These principles come from the Community of Inquiry framework. In Dr. Vaughn’s breakout session, he’ll demonstrate how to put into practice the seven principles of blended learning:

Design for open communication & trust
Design for critical reflection & discourse
Create and sustain sense of community
Support purposeful inquiry
Ensure students sustain collaboration
Ensure that inquiry moves to resolution
Ensure assessment is congruent with intended learning outcomes

The slides for Norm’s session are available at:

As you can see from the slides, Norm began – after a pair share activity – focused on the Communities of Inquiry framework; and he provided some background to both the framework and the players behind the framework.

Much of the remainder of Norm’s presentation focused on seven strategies that came from the book that he co-authored entitled Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry (and you can see these seven strategies and the examples from the slides linked above).

As a side note, one tool that Norm did reference that is worth checking out is Instagrok –

PTDEA 2016 – Provincial & Territorial Presentation: Alberta

ptdea-2016The second session that I am blogging at Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting is the first of the provincial updates.  For those unfamiliar, traditionally at PTDEA their are representatives from each of the provinces and territories – sometimes from the Ministry of Education and sometimes from individual programs – provide a short (i.e., 15-20 minutes) presentation on what is happening within their realm.

The presentation from Alberta was from the Alberta Distance Learning Centre, which is a province-wide program run on behalf of the Government by one of the school districts in the province.  Their presentation focused on their instructional design model.  Their model is a structured, systematic process that begins with a proposal that – if accepted – moves to a blueprinting stage.  The blueprint stage goes through the following steps:

  1. rationale
  2. prioritizing outcomes
  3. initiatives
  4. assessment plan
  5. student learning plan
  6. resources
  7. project management plan

Following the overview of the blueprint stage, Lise discussed the specific standards and framework that ADLC uses as a part of their instructional design model.  In terms of standards, the ADLC has adopted the Quality Matters standards.  Additionally, they have developed their own Writer’s Guide for Learning ResourcesWriter’s Guide for the Web, and Editorial Guide, as well as several templates, style guides and conformance testing.

PTDEA 2016 – Digital Natives, Net Generation, Generation Me… What Do We Really Know About Today’s Students and How They Learn?

ptdea-2016The first session that I am blogging at Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting is:

Digital Natives, Net Generation, Generation Me…What Do We Really Know About Today’s Students and How They Learn?
Dr. Michael Barbour

Today’s students are assigned a wide variety of labels. Many of these labels apply certain characteristics—some contradictory—to this generation, and many focus on how exposure to media and technology has changed the way today’s students think and learn.

In this keynote, Dr. Barbour will explore literature on generational labels and the specific characteristics that each ascribes, with an emphasis on the role that technology plays in the lives of today’s students and the differences between today’s students and previous generations. Dr. Barbour will present his investigations into the research these generational labels are based on, paying special attention to its reliability and validity.

This keynote will examine what’s been learned about K-12 students engaged in distance, online, and blended learning, both in Canada and abroad. Dr. Barbour will advise on promising, research-based practices that best support learners in distance, online, and blended environments.

As this was my session, I don’t have any active notes from the session. However, below you can find my slides from the session.

PTDEA Meeting 2016

ptdea-2016Today begins the Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting.  Over the next two days most of my blogging will be focused on this conference.

Be sure to check out the conference website at:

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