Mobile learning is where I believe education is heading towards. As the name suggests, mobile learning is learning on the go, it is not learning in a fixed place such as a classroom, but rather the idea that learning and the gaining of knowledge can happen anywhere, particularly due to the advancement of technologies such as wifi internet, tablet computers and smart phones such as the iPhone. As these technologies continue to develop and become more powerful, so does the power of mobile learning therefore it is important for teachers today to embrace these new technologies adn use them in the classroom rather than deterring it. Educators must understand that learning no longer takes place in the confines of the four walls of the classroom but through devices such as an iPad or a smart phone, it can happen anywhere such as on bus on the way to school!
Mobile learning uses a number of devices that are becoming more prevalent and affordable in society today include those in the photo below
Computers are becoming smaller adn more portable and the power of a computer and the world wide web is now at a student’s fingertips. This means that they can now access information adn communicate with others within seconds in a device that can fit in their bags or even their pockets! I believe that these technologies have revoltuionised teaching and learningin the following ways:
- Applications, otherwises known as Apps – in class we watched a sesame street youtube clip where in they sing a song entitled ‘There is an App for that’ and if you look on Apple’s App Store you will find that this is actually true! Although there are a number of apps that are used to pass time with games such as ‘angry birds’, there are a number of educational apps for pretty much every topic and key learning area. Fropm graphic calculators, schedules ant time tables, a interactive periodic table of elements and even ones to help you learn another language! These specific applications help make learning interactive, engaging and it is user friendly.
- Portable – this means learning can happen anywhere at anytime! On the bus, at home, in schools, in the park.
- Cost effective – although the cost of a tablet computer or an iTouch can seem expensive, when you compare it to the cost of buying books, paper, photocopiers, pens, graphic calculators, ect, in the long run the cost of an iPad and a couple of dollars for apps means that it is actually cheaper! Furthermore, the more that people use and invest in these technologies, it will bring the cost of these mobile devices down. It can also be arged that if learning was completely digital then it would have a positive impact on the environment as it eliminates the need for multiple printing adn photocopy, hard copies of books and so forth.
- it can meet individual learning needs – in the classroom there are a wide array of learning needs and i believe that technology has the means to meet these needs to that these students are able to particilate with the rest of the class. For example, if you were only using printed texts, you would not be able to change the font size or color to suit the needs of visually impaired students but using e-books can change that. Furthermore, by recording podcasts of the lessons into ‘bite sized’ chunks means that students can listen to the information multiple times and apps such as proloquotogo help students who are unable to communicate through traditional means as they have a disability such as cerebal palsy or severe autism.
- It is instant – information can be transmitted and received within seconds and students could communicate with eachother or with the teacher through e-mail or chat or even twitter! Some students may be shy to ask questions so mobile devices help over come this barrier. It also means that students can learn collobratively with one another.
- Learning is problem based AND research based and the students themselves are central to learning. Thus learning is intrinsic as the student motivates themselves to deeper understanding. It allows for real worl application adn for simulation (students are able to take part in simulated activites)
On reflecting on mobile learning, i believe that these technologies are beneficial to learning and allows students to develop into life long learners. To gain knowledge is not something that only happens when a person is enrolled in school, but a person can continue to learn no matter where they are. There is a app for eaverything from playing guitar to reading classic novels and one could partake in these actvieis anywhere in the world.
This being said, I still believe in the importance of a teacher adn the classroom adn proper teaching pedagogy. If a student had these devices but was not taught how to properly use it then it would be a waste and the student would probably not use the technology to its full potential. A teacher still needs to be able to teach the students how to best use the device to aid in their understanding of themselves adn the world around them.
More and more students have smart phones and will be bringing them into the classroom and too many teachers today try to ban its use; however i believe that it can actually aide learning (as shown in the points above) as it suits every learning style (from kinaesthetic learns to visual learners) and fosters creativity as the students are not bound to anything and prepares students for further technological advancements in the future.
Learning Consortium Perspectives. 2008. From http://masieweb.com/p7/MobileLearningUpdate.pdf. Retrieved may 19, 2011.