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Mobile Learning Study: Harvesting Fragments of Time

What, if anything, can “ anytime, anywhere” access to learning material contribute to the education experience? - Circa 2003

An Industry Leading Mobile Learning Study

This project was initiated by a simple question asked by Henry Hirschberg, Group President for Higher Education at McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc, and John Dill, CEO of McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. The question was: What, if anything, can “ anytime, anywhere” access to learning material contributes to the education experience?

In June 2001, and with the generous support of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGEY), McGraw-Hill Ryerson invited over 50 people from across the industry to a concept meeting to discuss how to address this important question. Attendees included educators as well as hardware, software, and telecommunications leaders. After all, wireless campuses and wireless-enabled devices were (and still are) proliferating. Some even say wireless is the “next big thing.” The outcome of this initial meeting was a plan to develop a pilot project in the accounting discipline that would test the value of integrating wireless-enabled PDAs into the learning process. Dr. Sam Shaw, President of Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Cindy Hazell, Vice President-Academic of Seneca College bravely committed their institutions to become hosts for this project. Other industry leaders, including Hewlett-Packard, Avaya, Bell Mobility, and Blackboard joined the consortium and devoted a tremendous amount of resources to the project.

In January 2002, the MOU was signed and the pilot project was launched.

Original steering committee members:

  • Sandi Barber, NAIT, Edmonton
  • John Dill, CEO, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Toronto
  • Stephen Gilfus, Principal, Blackboard, Washington
  • Cindy Hazell, AVP, Seneca College, Toronto
  • Bill McDonald Compaq/HP Toronto
  • Paul Neilson, Bell Mobility, Toronto
  • Ken Truffen, Bell Mobility, Toronto
  • Jeff Zabudsky, NAIT, Edmonton 
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