domingo, 20 de dezembro de 2009

Contribuição do SMS para a educação a distância

O jornal New Straits Times da Malaysia publicou uma interessante noticia sobre a utilização do SMS na educação a distância.

Learning via SMS


We have heard of distance learning, and the use of computers and video-conferencing as teaching tools. But the use of the short message service or SMS to teach students has been unheard of, until now. CHANDRA DEVI RENGANAYAR finds out more about this new learning method adopted by Universiti Sains Malaysia.

IF the short message service (SMS) is a popular method of communication among the younger generation, why not use it to teach students?

That's what Universiti Sains Malaysia figured, and the apex university has since embarked on a project to do just that. [...]

A pilot research study was launched last year, and the results revealed that the students welcomed information that way.

There was an overwhelming consensus that the mobile phone could make a strong and viable contribution to the educational process.[...]

The Physics course was selected as pilot because the subject is "highly structured and logical".

"Students usually make notes and break the content down into chewable pieces. This is akin to a short message.

"One short message can contain a complete definition of a certain phenomenon. As such, the subject lends itself very well to this SMS method."

Rozhan says the idea for the project was sparked by the use of the mobile phone to alert and remind lecturers of videoconferencing-based classes for distance learners.

"We have an in-house platform that sends an SMS to lecturers to remind them of their classes one day before and again a few hours before the class. We realised that the same technique can be used to reach our distance learners and deliver content to them anytime, anywhere.

"Being students in vocation, it is beneficial to make studying a natural part of their everyday life."

Although the messages are restricted to 160 characters, Rozhan says it is possible to deliver pedagogically articulated and didactic content via SMS.[..]

He says as the mobile phone has become an essential part of a student's everyday life, it only makes sense to use it as a teaching gadget.

"The use of SMS is now an accepted part of everyday social communication. Students always have their mobile phone with them, so text messages can reach them wherever they are.

"The SMS function can be utilised as an asynchronous form of communication with a student, fostering a sense of connectivity between the lecturer and student and facilitating a supportive learning environment."

Mobile technology, he said, would complement other electronic learning (e-learning) resources.

"In the pilot study, the distance learners were instructed to copy, by hand, each message into their note book to instil the habit of writing down the facts and definitions as well as the tips sent to them. More serious deliberations were then conducted via the forum in the electronic portal.

"This technique led to an optimisation of the online forum and the sharing of discussions on relevant topics.

"There was an immediate bridge in communication and activity before a more comprehensive discussion could ensue in the electronic portal."

This form of communication, says Rozhan, is important as the lecturer may sometimes be too busy to visit the online portal.

Postado em 20 de dezembro de 2009 por Joao José Saraiva da Fonseca

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