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

  • - sherman.young sherman.young Feb 28, 2015 The penetration of mobile devices on campus swamps everything else. From high school on, the smartphone is increasingly becoming *the* device for social connection and engagement and if we are serious about wanting to nurture relevant communication and collaboration abilities, then we cannot ignore this trend. For example, we still use email as a means of connecting with students, when it's becoming increasingly clear that "email is for old people" (just look at the 784 unread messages on my daughter's phone) and that organising everything from Friday night to the next uni assignment is happening vis messaging service, or social network (and increasingly instagram or snapchat, not facebook or twitter). A mobile device doesn't lean itself to the type of traditional learning we're used to (lots of reading of text, writing of essays etc) but has the ability to provoke new, innovative and more relevant responses to what our graduates will need. I'm hesitant to suggest at time when more conservative colleagues still bristle at the idea of 'digital first' but we need to be aware that soon we might need to be thinking 'mobile first'
  • It's happening whether we like it or not. - helen.farley helen.farley Mar 4, 2015
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Australian students have on average 4 mobile devices each. - helen.farley helen.farley Mar 4, 2015
  • Australia's biggest market for international students is Southeast Asia. In many countries in this region, broadband internet is not possible (for example in countries that are archipelagos). But even in these places, mobile device penetration is very high. There is also some evidence that students are buying tablets in preference to laptops. - helen.farley helen.farley Mar 4, 2015
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Learning anywhere, anytime, anyhow. - helen.farley helen.farley Mar 4, 2015
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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