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?

  • I think this is almost an expectation in many areas. How many adults are not doing some form of learning on their phones or tablets. More flexible classrooms in and out of the classroom. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
  • The ideal for mobile devices for learning allow access to many of the concepts in other areas: collaborative learning, personalized learning, and problem based learning. In addition, the device becomes a digital backpack that can include texts, instruments, and is central to the opportunity for big data collection. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014
  • The concept of mobile learning is ideal for the world we live in, and how many students learn. The blend of formal and informal learning lends itself well to mobile learning opportunities. However, it doesn't seem as if practice has caught up with where the students are. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 9, 2014

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

  • The statement above captures a critical component, "The significance for teaching and learning is that these devices have the potential to facilitate almost any educational experience". Although this idea isnt "missing" from the description it is certainly an area that shouldnt be overlooked or minimized. Again, I believe the need for knowlegeable & prepared facilitators is critical for the device to be used as an educational tool vs a consumer media device. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014
  • There is still a long way to go for mobile learning experiences to go mainstream in k-12. In primary school these days, many of the mobile learning uses are a bit more on the novelty side or an activity that requires an outside component. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 9, 2014

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

  • It exemplifies "Anytime Anywhere" learning and transforms an eduational experience from the formal school environment to the concept of open and connected learning. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014
  • Mobile learning offers the flexibility to learn, grow and explore a world that typically would require four walls and a teacher. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 9, 2014

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

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