Mobile Application Development Summer Series for Educators – Reflections

By Mark DuBois, Director of Education WebProfessionals.org

This has been my “Summer of Mobile app development with HTML5 and CSS-3 and jQuery.” I am exceedingly honored to have been a part of the WebProfessionals.org Summer 2012 conference schedule in addition to helping run the 2012 national web design contest in Kansas City in June.

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I spoke at a number of venues ranging from Los Angeles, CA (Coastline Community College) to Boston, MA (Bunker Hill Community College) over the course of the summer. The emphasis was on the implications of multi-screen devices in teaching and learning and how we need to prepare our content for the coming changes. In my opinion, this represents as significant a change as what we call the Industrial Revolution. I term this the “Connection Revolution.” Students are expecting to bring their own devices to campus and will expect content to be delivered in format suitable for each device they use. Pinch and zoom will not yield the desired result; we need to develop appropriate sites and apps to reflect these changes. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is just a part of the rising tide of expectations among students and professionals. The consumerization of IT has only begun and it will have a massive impact on education (and many other fields). With our emphasis on HTML5, CSS-3 and jQuery Mobile, we can build such prototype apps today. In my opinion, we should already have entered this revolution as it will be roughly 1 more year before this is the new (and expected) standard for delivery. mLearning is here and expanding quickly. It is imperative we are ready to deliver content in the appropriate format and venue for students. Read more »

My presentations were a part of a major initiative by WebProfessionals.org to place proper materials in the hands of educators so they can update their curricula with the latest technologies. The following quote is taken directly from the WebProfessionals.org website. “The goal of the summer series week long workshops is to help facilitate teacher access to cutting edge Web design and development training and curriculum materials. The summer workshop series helps teachers stay current by engaging them in projects designed to showcase skills that are in the highest demand by those that employ Web professionals.” I am exceedingly honored that I was selected to provide so much training throughout the U.S. over the summer, 2012. I had the opportunity to meet and interact with many peers and have made a number of new connections and friends. The fact that so many participated in these events indicates the vast need for up to date information in this area. The Connection Revolution is upon us and we had best be ready for this coming wave of change.

For those who are curious what my summer was like, here are some fundamental statistics that may help you better understand the scope and impact. Keep in mind that I was gone every other week throughout the summer (sometimes only returning to Illinois for a few days before moving on to the next seminar). As an aside, I did all this while recovering from major eye surgery (in early May).

Approximate miles traveled: 15,000 (yes, that is over 1/2 way around our planet).
Total week long events I participated in this summer: 6.
Approximate number of hours of instruction delivered to participants: 230 hours.
Total number of colleges (and high schools) participating in series: over 135.
Average number of students in each program: 200.
Approximate number of students directly impacted by my training: 25,000 (yes, this is an under-estimate if you perform the appropriate math).
Pounds of chocolate consumed by attendees: 25 (this is also an under-estimate).

In reflection, this was an incredibly impressive summer. I never anticipated that I would be able to provide this sort of impact on web curricula. Obviously, the emphasis was on web standards, responsive design, and mobile app development. That is what I shared with participants. However, I also learned so much from the numerous interactions with others. I can’t count the number of WebProfessionals business cards I handed out to participants; I have made so many new contacts and hope to continue our discussions over the coming years.

I believe that my efforts were successful as a number of organizers of these events have already indicated they would like me to return next summer to conduct another series of workshops. I am already looking forward to those opportunities (and more).

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