Mobile Learning Strategies: Homeless University and iPad Students


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Mobile learning is also such a trendy buzzword - but one that is quite broad when you take a closer look: While a mobile homeless university was initiated in Berlin, a university in Bonn gives its students an iPad as a gift. The contrasts couldn't be greater. And what does real “mobile learning” look like now? Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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A university for the homeless

In Berlin, a homeless university was launched this year. It wants to offer people without housing not the usual seminars for reintegration into society, but creative teaching and learning opportunities in all areas - from the cultural studies of Egypt to theater to philosophy.

Even if homeless people could take advantage of public education programs, such as adult education centers, they often lack the courage and the money to do so. Therefore, people are taught to be mobile in homeless shelters or other places where people without permanent residence meet or stay.

Homeless as lecturers

What is special about this is that the homeless are not only students, but also teachers. In this way, a new perspective is to be given to them by learning that their abilities are appreciated and used. On the website of the homeless university:

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The homeless should learn that his knowledge and skills have a high relevance and that his experiences are needed and appreciated by others. By preparing a lecture / presentation, in addition to increasing self-esteem, there will also be a deepening in the respective subject area, as the lecturer will deal thoroughly with the topic in advance.

A survey shows a wide range of subjects

What kind of skills the homeless people can and want to convey, was surveyed from May to November 2011 in a survey. It came as a surprise to find out how Germany's radio knowledge, where there is also an Audiobject on the topic, can be read:

“A survey of homeless people showed that they can offer a wide range of subjects. From history lectures to social media seminars. ”

Gone away potential

What potential is this country giving away, which is notoriously at the back of the list in the Pisa study and where more money is spent on an airport in the capital than on educational institutions?

This is a good catchword, as the International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef / Bonn (IUBH) wanted to do something for mobile learning and gave its newly enrolled students a free iPad 1.10.2012 from the 3.

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An iPad for students willing to pay

Fairly, one has to say that the students there pay depending on the study course between 4.000 and 5.000 Euro per semester, since the costs for the iPad are probably already included. Update: These are the prices for the attendanceCourses. The distance learning courses cost between 1.800 Euro and in the Master almost 2.500 Euro.

However, the Bachelor and Master students have access to the entire teaching and learning offer of the IUBH Fernstudium at any time and at any time. The iPad certainly offers a wide range of applications:

Extensive application possibilities of the iPad

Learning materials can be accessed and used from anywhere on iTunes University (iTunes U), online scripts, solutions and video lectures can be downloaded and viewed directly on the iPad.

The contact with fellow students and supervisors can directly out of the learning environment out as per eMail or forum, automatic reminders eg for online tutorials can be activated.

Great that the IUHB would like to expand mobile learning in this way, that could be the way for a university of the way in the right direction. It is a pity that the measure addresses only new students who are still enrolled in 31.12.2012.

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New customer acquisition with compulsory obligation

In addition, in the event of premature termination of the distance learning agreement, the iPad must be returned in working order within one week after termination - the student will, of course, pay for any damage or return.

A sustainable mobile learning strategy looks different for me. The mobile learning action has an impact on me as the new customer acquisition attempt of the savings bank next door with compulsory obligation to stay at the bar. Which strategy do you like better?


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  1. Philipp Höllermann

    Sorry, was meant, of course, Mrs. Janson :).

    • Simone Janson

      Thank you, that's nice, many are not so accurate.

  2. Philipp Höllermann

    Hello Mrs. Jansen,

    It's great that we have also included this campaign on your blog. Just a small correction: the distance learning semester costs just under 1.800 euros for the bachelor's degree and just under 2.500 euros for the master's. Still quite a chunk but far from the 4.000-5.000 euros you mention.

    Incidentally, is under

    Otherwise, the iPad must be returned in the event of cancellation for the following reason: The device we deliver currently costs 699 euros in stores. In distance learning programs, students can withdraw from a distance learning contract in the first 14 days without a reason (regulated by the ZFU), with us even in the entire first month. It is true that all teaching materials must be returned, but of course the provider remains responsible for the costs (e.g. due to wear and tear, for shipping, etc.). Immediately after the 14 days, students are allowed to keep all delivered materials without the provider being allowed to charge separate costs. For us, if we were to “give away” the iPad at the start of our studies, it would simply not be financially viable ... and that would then also be a pure attraction.

    What we do is the following: We offer our students a mobile device for distance learning without additional costs. With this you can use our media and mobile learning offers. And as a bonus they can keep the device at the end. In the center is not that we give an iPad, but that we support mobile learning, And the strategy I find personally, of course, good.

    The homeless university I find incidentally extremely exciting, great what is there on the legs.

    Best Regards,
    Philipp Höllermann
    IUBH distance learning

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Mr. Höllermann,
      I look forward to your dedicated contributions to the discussion. Thanks for the information about the return modalities - then the regulation makes a little more sense. As for the prices, I apparently accidentally ended up at the face-to-face events - I'll correct that in the post:
      Thank you, but especially for the reference to the critical discussion, in which exactly the points are addressed, which I would also have to criticize:
      No iPads for face-to-face students, Is an iPad a useful work device at all (many companies advertise iPads because they are so hip) and above all - as they say themselves - the fact that I add the price of the iPad to the tuition fees and that was also calculated accordingly.
      So the offer is not a free offer but is passed on to the tuition fees - so you said - and that unfortunately gives the thing a somewhat negative touch.

      Of course, I think the intention to support mobile forms of work is good and right in principle. Only the "how" may need a little discussion.

      In the homeless, I personally would be nice, if the educators once thought about how they could support such a project.
      gruß
      Simone Janson

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