The Adventures of Tin Man: MLearning Critical Success Factors

Here is a short introduction to 6 critical success factors for mobile learning via the Adventures Of Tin Man. Based upon a BJET paper available at:, and an RLT paper “Secrets of Mlearning Failures”

The Tin Man comic series is available at:

Presenting without Powerpoint

From Evernote:

Presenting without Powerpoint


I have been asked several times to blog a “how to present without PowerPoint” post, so due to popular demand here it is!
The first question of course is WHY? Apparently almost everyone, including mobile learning experts, default to using PowerPoint to ‘present’ and ‘teach’ – and herein is the key issue – it’s about changing the traditional teaching/learning paradigm that is all about transmission of content. I am interested in participatory and social forms of teaching and learning, and this is very difficult to do using PowerPoint. The second key issue is about enabling interaction and access beyond the model of locking the course content away until after the class, when the PowerPoint files are typically uploaded to the LMS for students to download and review after the class. The problem with this typical scenario is that there is no possibility of discussion or conversation before the class, students must have a copy of Microsoft Office to view the class content, and the PowerPoint slides are generally devoid of context or the class interaction and conversation that (hopefully) accompanied the ‘presentation’. This can be alleviated somewhat by uploading your PowerPoint slides to an openly accessible online host such as Slideshare, however the teaching/learning paradigm remains fundamentally unchanged.

Recently I tweeted during a particularly boring conference presentation:

Thank you for reading your PowerPoint slides to me #ectel2013
19/09/13 10:46 PM

Which generated more discussion than the presentation:

I received a reply from @jontrinder

@thomcochrane thought you might appreciate/empathise with
19/09/13 11:27 PM

This Dilbert comic strip provides a great summary of many PowerPoint presentation experiences

More recently @ATZ119 provided a link to a blog post about presenting without PowerPoint that I think summaries many of the issues:

Presenting without PowerPoint – take the risk and model authentic engagement with technology! #sharefest13
10/10/13 9:43 AM

This blog post describes the writer’s experience of participating in a presentation that was devoid of PowerPoint, that used live interaction with web content instead, and the ‘fear’ that this engendered in the writer when they contemplated doing the same! This got me motivated to make this blog post :-)

Another key issue for me is that the vast majority of the world now access the Internet through their smartphones or other mobile devices (See the ITU 2013 statistics) – so material needs to be mobile accessible – PowerPoint or Slideshare are barely mobile accessible formats. Since the ability to screen mirror mobile devices has become baked into the OS of iOS, Android and Win8 over the past two years, mobile devices are now incredibly interactive and flexible presentation and teaching tools – no longer limited to personal productivity due to small screen size.

So what do I use? The tools I use need to be:

  • Mobile friendly – accessible either by a mobile web browser or a mobile App
  • Online
  • Shareable for open access
  • Make the most of the affordances built into smartphones: camera, audio, video, geolocation, QR codes, augmented reality etc…
  • Synchronised across my several mobile devices
  • Provide opportunities for learner response/interaction/conversation/commenting
  • Provide opportunities for serendipitous input from a global community

I have facilitated workshops on using these tools with @vnarayan for example:

Generally I will use a Mashup of mobile social media tools, linked via an outline with ‘live’ links via Evernote – a shareable mobile friendly multimedia note-taking App that is also a powerful presentation tool.
Because all my resources are collated and curated using social media, such as YouTube, Picasaweb, Soundcloud, Twitter, Storify, AudioBoo, etc… the Evernote page provides links to this media, which can either be viewed within Evernote’s own browser, opened in Safari (on iOS), or opened in the appropriate App. This approach requires a decent Internet connection, either via WiFi or 3G/4G as a backup. Generally I will purchase a local 3G/4G data SIM at the airport of whatever country I am visiting as my backup connectivity option. Increasingly Eduroam WiFi is available on University campuses in NZ/Australia/UK/Europe. My Evernote page is effectively a window into my online curated content that can be accessed via any Internet connected mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) or desktop computer.

I will usually preload any video files onto my mobile device for off-line presenting just in case, and use the native video App to present these. Switching between mobile Apps is far quicker and less obtrusive than switching between Applications on the fly on a laptop or desktop.

My basic suite of presentation tools includes:

  • Evernote as the outline/launcher and shared resource link
  • A QRCode and URL shortener and Twitter for sharing the Evernote URL
  • YouTube playlists for video
  • Picasaweb for albums used as curated slideshows & embedded video – cached offline (just in case) via the Web Albums App
  • Soundcloud or AudioBoo for audio files, also cached via the built-in media player/library of my mobile device
  • A Twitter hashtag as a back-channel/discussion forum
  • Todaysmeet for the Twitter adverse
  • Mendeley and ResearchGate for sharing references
  • Google Maps and Google Earth for geolocated content – adding context to web hosted content
  • Wikitude for locally accessible geolocation content

To facilitate live mobile device screen mirroring I use:

  • either an AppleTV connected to a video projector via HDMI
  • or the Airserver App ( my MacBookAir connected to a video projector
  • Airplay over WiFi directly from my iPhone and iPad so that I can be mobile – and this also means no accidental disconnections of the VGA/HDMI adaptor to the iPad/iPhone when you accidentally move them!
  • A decent audio system connected to either the AppleTV or MacBookAir

That is basically my mobile-friendly, audience participatory, presentation toolkit!

Sometimes I will use Prezi on the iPad or iPhone, however I find most people merely substitute Prezi for PowerPoint, rather than leveraging the collaborative editing and presentation facilities of Prezi, so I minimise my use of it, using it within a broader suite of mobile social media tools for a bit of variety, rather than do a complete presentation using only Prezi.

The key is getting comfortable with risk – being able to troubleshoot connectivity issues, and building in conversation/interaction into any presentation. The world of mobile social media is a rapidly changing space, and so experimenting with new tools is essential. Curating your content on social media sites means that you are not limited to one presentation tool and you can immediately share content and embed your content within Twitter conversations etc… and I can change my presentation notes and linked media anywhere anytime as inspiration happens or in response to the group of learners on the fly.

Here’s a couple of example presentations if you are interested:



A summary of Twitter interactions throughout the EC-TEL2013 Conference in Cyprus

  1. Tack, Skål, Powerpoint @atz119 interesting presentation about innovation inpedagogy @thomcochrane @atz119
  2. #ectel2013 using mobile devices in Social Media as catalyst to think about teaching and learning differently @thomcochrane
  3. Tack, Skål, Powerpoint @atz119 interesting presentation about innovation inpedagogy @thomcochrane @atz119
  4. @johnnigelcook that title is CC-NC-BY. re teen spirit paper, nice to see @thomcochrane & @ATZ119 talk about learner generated contexts
  5. @johnnigelcook that title is CC-NC-BY. re teen spirit paper, nice to see @thomcochrane & @ATZ119 talk about learner generated contexts
  6. #ectel2013 making a cultural change in pedagogy through using mobile devices in MOPCOPs by @thomcochrane
  7. #ectel2013 using mobile devices in Social Media as catalyst to think about teaching and learning differently @thomcochrane
  8.… The Learning Design Studio #ectel2013
  9. my prezi “The Learning Design Studio: Educational Practice as Design Inquiry of Learning” #ectel2013
  10. We need to broker innovative pedagogical practice between contexts, a Community Of Practice model is one way to do this #ectel2013
  11. More innovative practices are more difficult to scale DOH #ectel2013 Need top down strategies for bottom up innovation, innovation organic
  12. Strong messages in all three keynotes at #ectel2013. More focus on teachers and pedagogy. Focus on existing tools and get close to practice!
  13. Hellerup School in Denmark… similar to Albany Senior High School in Auckland NZ #ectel2013
  14. #ectel2013 scale & sustainability about innovation and systemic change – reconceptualizing T & L a cultural change…
  15. Redesigning Prof Devt: reconceptualising teaching using social learning technologies @thomcochrane & @vnarayan #RLT
  16. Redesigning Prof Devt: reconceptualising teaching using social learning technologies @thomcochrane & @vnarayan #RLT
  17. Redesigning Prof Devt: reconceptualising teaching using social learning technologies @thomcochrane & @vnarayan #RLT
  18. #ectel2013 if we transferred the presentation skills from the demo sprints to the papers then they would be much more engaging
  19. @BergstrmPeter I expect a non PowerPoint presentation next time :-) #ectel2013 121 computing classroom…
  20. Confusing University brand with teaching quality Hence MOOC pedagogy is rubbish :-) #ectel2013 No evidence that Top researchers are teachers
  21. MOOC pass rates low and dropout high, also no cross credit towards formal qualifications #ectel2013…
  22. John Daniel’s article on MOOCs. A must read for all interested in understanding the paradox of the concept… #ectel2013
  23. xMOOCs have no relationship to Ivan Illich’s view of open education #ectel2013
  24. It’s not technology that creates a revolution, it’s how you use it – revolution comes from changing culture and new ideas #ectel2013
  25. St Paul one of the first distance educators in Cyprus via correspondence #ectel2013 St Paul wins the TEL Eurovision Competition!
  26. AUT University – Business School – Excellence in Business Support Awards 2013 @thomcochrane
  27. @thomcochrane thought you might appreciate/empathise with…
  28. Thank you for reading your PowerPoint slides to me #ectel2013
  29. @yishaym even Siri on my iPhone got bored – randomly asked “I’m not sure what you mean by that!” LOL
  30. Yawn, tell me about your project and its impact on learners rather than your research methodology – I can read that #ectel2013
  31. Eurovision competition for TEL #ectel2013 bring on Engelbert Humperdink :-)”
  32. @thomcochrane but then there’s an 11% acceptance rate for short papers… #ectwl2013
  33. 22% full paper acceptance – you are more likely to get bumped down to a short paper :-( #ectel2013
  34. #ectel2013 Digital Didaktik Designs for iPads blog
  35. #ectel2013 Digital Didaktik Designs in iPad Classrooms
  36. #ectel2013 brainstorming curriculum design projects with the French and Swedish connection @atz119 @IsaJa :-)…
  37. “@ATZ119: workshop sum up from @IsaJa @thomcochrane…#ECTEL2013 merging curiosity and curriculum driven learning
  38. OH @ #ectel2013 “I’m not from a creative industry, I’m a computer scientist”
  39. Very engaging discussion round creativity in the creativity workshop #ectel2013 We as the experts must model creative behaviour ourselves!
  40. Our #ectel2013 Creativity Workshop paper @thomcochrane @atz119… MSM for creative pedagogies
  41. “creative pedagogy” like! We use “digital didactical designs” similarities/diff? @thomcochrane our paper #ectel2013
  42. our paper for #ectel2013 @thomcochrane @atz119 MOPCOP Mobile Community Of Practice…
  43. @thomcochrane tx, I’m @ might join you after coffee / lunch
  44. our paper for #ectel2013 @thomcochrane @atz119 MOPCOP Mobile Community Of Practice…
  45. Our #ectel2013 Creativity Workshop paper @thomcochrane @atz119… MSM for creative pedagogies
  46. @thomcochrane is the creativity workshop today? which room? (I’m still a bit flight-shocked) #ectel2013
  47. #ectel2013 Creativity workshop – @thomcochrane @atz119 our presentation notes… MSM a catalyst for creative pedagogies

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Academic Research on Blogging

Here’s some useful papers on educational blogging:

Two by the founder of

Farmer, J. (2003). Communication dynamics : Discussion boards , weblogs and the development of communities of inquiry in online learning environments Introduction and background : Towards social constructivism and. (R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer, & R. Phillips, Eds.)Elearning, (1999), 274-283. Retrieved from

Blogs @ anywhere: High fidelity online communication

Authors: Anne Bartlett-Bragg, James Farmer

Publisher: Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education–anywhere-high-fidelity-online-communication/

One by myself:

Mobile Blogging: A Guide for Educators

Authors: Thomas Cochrane

From MLearn 2007

An argument for user-generated content from Axel Bruns:
Bruns, A. (2007, March 21-23). Beyond difference: reconfiguring education for the user-led age. Paper presented at the ICE3: Ideas in cyberspace education: digital difference, Ross Priory, Loch Lomond, Scotland.

And a great argument from Steve Wheeler: “Seven reasons teachers should blog”

And some examples of blogs used in higher education courses:

And finally some student and lecturer reflections on Blogging in their courses:

Vyclone in action


There’s huge potential for Vyclone to be used in collaborative projects.

Originally posted on Eje team:

 Back at the local haunt, COP members get together to demonstrate Vyclone, the GPS enabled video tool which edits on colour and movement between a group of  closely located participants.

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