I am here in Edinburgh as part of the Networked Learning Conference, presenting a paper on mobile learning field activities with Pekka. That presentation takes place later on today. Yesterday was spent with friends and colleagues James LambJeremy Knox, and Philippa Sheail wandering around Edinburgh doing a sort of makeshift walking tour/field activity. I won’t go into too much detail as it is ongoing, but the process unfolded as such:

  1. James organized a loose itinerary over email.
  2. We met for drinks after I arrived to discuss the itinerary (kind of).
  3. Themes emerged that might serve to frame the walking the next day.
  4. By the time we finished, we had established a loose framework of where we might go, what specific things we might be looking at, and a vague conviction to not let an itinerary trump the promise of merely wandering.
  5. The next day, we met for coffee. We catalogued our gear to see what was being brought (and what data collection that would afford).
  6. I ran a GPS app to collect our movements (I used Tracks for the first time; quite good).
  7. We then proceeded to wander throughout the town collecting audio, video, and imagery.
  8. We collected that media into a shared Dropbox folder where we could all remix the media to our heart’s content.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 7.48.52 AM

Basically all of this was an exercise in multimodality, an exercise in mobile learning, and just exercise (we logged about 14km total). It was interesting to me to note how the data capture shifted in focus as we moved throughout the day. From graveyards to skylines to graffiti and signage and back to skylines. Our eyes were looking at different things as the day progressed, trained as they were to identify and respond to newness and shifts in alignment of what is foregrounded and backgrounded.

Ultimately, we will take this data, assemble it somehow (remixing ours and the other collected data) and produce compositions of some sort. These compositions will undoubtedly vary considerably as there are three sets of eyes, three perspectives, three different motivations. A fun exercise and I am thinking a good model for future activities I might do with my students.


By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

2 thoughts on “Mobile learning and walks through Edinburgh”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.