How and why to use sms in your teaching practice

Just read the paper „Engaging ODL learners through Mobile Learning at Open University Malaysia: Formal education: Technologies for scaling up ODL programmes“ written by Zoraini Wati Abas, Tina Lim and Norazlina Mohamad, that helped me get an idea of how SMS services are beeing or can be used for teaching and why.

The key to success seems to be the didactical concept named “push and pull”.

Accordng to that an sms is sent to all learner’s of a class – it is pushed to them. The text on the SMS asks them to go and do something, that means to pull information, knowledge or ideas using another mode of learning.

More concrete teachers can:

  • ask learners to engage with the content of the class by asking a question that learns can answer on their own time
  • direct learns to discussion forum
  • give tipps about how to optimise learning
  • motivate learners  to keep up the good work by sending them interesting quotes of wise people
  • inform learners about administrative issues (meeting classrooms, dates, shedules, cancelations, etc)

The paper is online and you can find concrete examples on page 5.

A large scale study showed that sms m-learning helped students:

  • sustain their interest in the course
  • learn in a more flexible manner
  • stay focused on their studies
  • manage their course participation

What I don’t know is, which technical possibilities teachers have, to help them carry out such methods. Anyone knows (maybe from the #change11 discussion) if there is special software available, that teachers can use to send the sms’s and to recieve the replies in an organised way?

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