What is Mobile Learning?


We are in the midst of a complete shift in the devices we use. As smartphones and tablets become more and more capable and user interfaces more and more natural, old methods of computing seem place-bound and much less intuitive. People increasingly expect to be connected to the Internet and the rich tapestry of knowledge it contains wherever they go, and the majority of them use a mobile device to do so. According to the 2013 “ICT Facts and Figures” report from the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, the mobile market consists of over 6.8 billion subscribers, with a majority living in developing countries. The unprecedented evolution of these devices and the apps that run on them has opened the door to myriad uses for education. Learning institutions all over the world are adopting apps into their curricula and modifying websites, educational materials, resources, and tools so they are optimized for mobile devices. The significance for teaching and learning is that these devices have the potential to facilitate almost any educational experience, allowing learners organize virtual video meetings with peers all over the world, use specialized software and tools, and collaborate on shared documents or projects in the cloud, among many other things. Although there are still likely many uses that have not been realized yet, over the past several years mobile learning has moved quickly from concept to reality.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 20, 2016 I can see that mobile technology penetration in Australian HE is already at a comparatively high level and is only going to increase much further. It is the case that educational technology (and related student systems) system purchase and upgrade decisions now have the requirement to understand how they'll work on the mobile platform.
  • - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 24, 2016 agree Kevin, I got very frustrated a few years ago because mobile learning didn' t catch on and I couldn't understand it, but maybe its a case of macro myopia - ie long term integration rather than short term innovation? what do you think?
  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 24, 2016 honestly Gilly, I think that mobile learning is here now and here to stay! It doesn't matter what we think, the penetration of mobile devices on (and off!) campus is now so widespread that students expect to be able to use them to access their learning experience consistent with all other aspects of their lives. I am constantly surprised though at the number of meetings that I attend at the Uni level where we discuss the look and design of the 'website'!
  • - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 20, 2016 happens to me too ;( - but is there a difference from 'they carry their mobile' to integration in learning design. Perhaps with responsive technology and a gradual move away from mobile apps' this will simply become 'the norm'. Just (re) some of Peter Cochrane's work 2000-4 - he' foresaw' stuff like this
  • - sherman.young sherman.young Feb 19, 2016yes, there's something to the argument that mobile *is* the internet now. Maybe not quite mobile only, but we need to think mobile first
  • Agree Sherman, design that's not scalable now is considered 'user-unfriendly'. - joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 21, 2016
  • Mobile assessment has been huge. This means that students are using mobiles to video workplace tasks, assessors are using mobiles for checklists (onsite assessment review) and video/photographic evidence, which is all then uploaded into the LMS or CMS. This has created a more robust environment for VET organisations Also by utilizing responsive design and release techniques students are able to interact with specific content - yvette.drager yvette.drager Feb 21, 2016.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 20, 2016 I think that the focus here needs to be more clearly focussed upon the ways that mobile technology will impact upon the student learning experience and the student lifecycle more broadly.
  • - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 24, 2016 agree
  • Mobile Learning needs to be clearly differentiated from BYOD, though BYOD does challenge Mobile Learning. Creating learning experiences in which students NEED mobile devices in order to engage with the learning experience is complicated when they may have mobile devices ranging from smart watches through to laptops. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 19, 2016
  • I would like to raise the point that there is also still a digital divide in all our institutions be it VET or HEd. Mechanisms need to be put in place so that students who do not have a BYOD device (yes in VET we still have those students who do not have this or access at home to the internet) can access one from on campus as a loan device so that they are able to complete assessments. - yvette.drager yvette.drager Feb 21, 2016
  • Touchscreens and Interactive Tables - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 28, 2016 I'm wondering about the new generation of touch screens and interactive tables-
    http://www.cruiserinteractive.com.au/home. it's a strong move towards a new form of collaboration, the cruiser we've got in the Futures Observatory at UWA is one of the most popular of all the stuff http://www.worldclasseducation.uwa.edu.au/education-futures/futures-observatory
    - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 28, 2016 heres the microsoft one: Microsoft Surface Hub – (to be released in July 2016) Unlock the power of the group with Microsoft Surface Hub, a powerful team collaboration device designed to advance the way people work together naturally.
    https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub/en-au - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 28, 2016 [Editor's Note: Added here from RQ2.]

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 20, 2016 I think that the impact is already occuring and will only get bigger. I think that the potential for reshaping educational delivery is phenomenal...especially when many of us are still thinking about changing learning culture from a more transmissive mode of delivery.
  • - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 24, 2016 agree

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Australian Catholic University has a mobile app designed to support the student experience, in particular, those areas that relate to their pedagogical and adminstrative engagments.
  • - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 24, 2016 I think we need to move towards multiple platforms but this project sounds interesting
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