Mobile technologies are a familiar part of the lives of most teachers and students In the world today. At the present time, however, the models for using and developing mobile applications for learning are somewhat lacking. It moves away from the dominant view of mobile learning as an isolated activity to explore mobile learning as a rich, collaborative and conversational experience, whether in classrooms, homes or the streets of a city.
It asks how we might draw on existing theories of learning to help us evaluate the most relevant applications of mobile technologies in education.
With respect to technologies, ‘mobile’ generally means portable and personal, like a mobile phone. Many examples of learning with mobile technologies fit into this description. Personal digital assistants and mobile phones are the most commonly used technologies for mobile learning, but they exist within the larger space of possible mobile technologies that can be broadly categorized on the two dimensions of personal vs. shared and portable vs.
Most previous reviews of mobile technologies and learning have been concerned with the use of these technologies to address specific curriculum areas. Learning and teaching with mobile technologies is beginning to make a breakthrough from small-scale pilots to institution-wide implementations. Much of the research into the use of mobile technologies for learning is driven by the technical capabilities of new devices. of mobile devices (PDAs in this case) that produce unique educational affordances We have structured the classification of activities around the main theories and areas of learning relevant to learning with mobile technologies.
These are Behaviorist – activities that promote learning as a change in observable actions. Situated – activities that promote learning within an authentic context and culture Collaborative – activities that promote learning through social interaction The technology provides a shared conversational learning space, which can be used not only for single learners but for groups of learners Mobile devices can support MCSCL by Hand-holds support MCSCL activities by directly addressing usability Various costs must be considered when implementing mobile learning. ecomes increasingly competitive, institutions can offer mobile learning opportunities as a competitive edge over other institutions. Assign the necessary roles for initiating and thereafter supporting mobile learning. Consider the use of mobile technologies for student administration tasks. Consider the use of mobile technologies to support collaborative and group learning. Mobile technologies are becoming more embedded, ubiquitous and networked, technologies to transform learning into a seamless part of daily life to the point textual information. rich information spaces. evelopers in exploiting the unique capabilities and characteristics of mobile technologies to enable new and engaging forms of learning. This review explores the use of these mobile technologies for learning, considered against a backdrop of existing learning to identify the different types of mobile technologies that are applicable to learning to explore new and emerging practices relating to the use of mobile technologies for learning . Dr Kalpana Dixit Principal, VNS College Of Education , Neelbud Bhopal E-Mail: Kalpana Dixit @hotmail. com Psychological Basis of Mobile Learning and Activity Based Approach
Introduction Mobile technologies are a familiar part of the lives of most teachers and students In the world today. We take it for granted that we can talk to other people at any time, from wherever we may be; we are beginning to see it as normal that we can access information, take photographs, record our thoughts with one device, and that we can share these with our friends, colleagues or the wider world. Newer developments in mobile phone technology are also beginning to offer the potential for rich multimedia experiences and for location-specific resources.
The challenge for educators and designers, however, is one of understanding and exploring how best we might use these resources to support learning. That we need to do this is clear – how much sense does it make to continue to exclude from schools, powerful technologies that are seen as a normal part of everyday life? At the present time, however, the models for using and developing mobile applications for learning are somewhat lacking. This review provides a rich vision of the current and potential future developments in this area.
It moves away from the dominant view of mobile learning as an isolated activity to explore mobile learning as a rich, collaborative and conversational experience, whether in classrooms, homes or the streets of a city. It asks how we might draw on existing theories of learning to help us evaluate the most relevant applications of mobile technologies in education. It describes outstanding projects currently under development in the world and around the world and it explores what the future might hold for learning with mobile technologies. The whole world is going mobile .
Phones, computers and media devices now fit in our pockets and can connect us to a variety of information sources and enable communication nearly everywhere we go. There is considerable interest in exploiting the almost universal appeal and abundance of these technologies for their educational use. The following issues are the most salient: The New Mobile Technologies and Their Relevance to Learning : With respect to technologies, ‘mobile’ generally means portable and personal, like a mobile phone. Many examples of learning with mobile technologies fit into this description.
Personal digital assistants and mobile phones are the most commonly used technologies for mobile learning, but they exist within the larger space of possible mobile technologies that can be broadly categorized on the two dimensions of personal vs. shared and portable vs. static. Most previous reviews of mobile technologies and learning have been concerned with the use of these technologies to address specific curriculum areas. In this review, we take an activity-centered perspective, considering new practices against existing theories.
Our review of the literature reveals six broad theory-based categories of activity, and identifies a number of examples of the use of mobile technology in each of them: The Implications for Learners , Teachers and Curriculum Developers: Learning and teaching with mobile technologies is beginning to make a breakthrough from small-scale pilots to institution-wide implementations. In order for these implementations to be successful, educators and technology developers must consider the following key issues: •Context: gathering and utilizing contextual information may clash with the learner’s wish for anonymity and privacy. Mobility: the ability to link to activities in the outside world also provides students with the capability to ‘escape’ the classroom and engage in activities that do not correspond with either the teacher’s agenda or the curriculum. •Learning over time: effective tools are needed for the recording, organization and retrieval of (mobile) learning experiences. •Informality: students may abandon their use of certain technologies if they perceive their social networks to be under attack. •Ownership: students want to own and control their personal technology, but •this presents a challenge when they bring it in to the classroom.
Research-informed guidelines can help to address these issues along with more practical concerns such as cost, usability, technical and institutional support. •Investigate a cost model for infrastructure, technology and services. •Study the requirements of all those involved in the use of the technology (learners, teachers, content creators) to ensure it is usable and acceptable. •Assess that the technology is suited to the learning task and examine •advantages and disadvantages of each technology before making a decision on which one to use. Assign the necessary roles for initiating and thereafter supporting mobile learning. •Develop procedures and strategies for the management of equipment when it •is provided by the institution. •Provide training and (ongoing) technical support to the teachers to enable them to use mobile technologies to enhance current and to enable new instructional activities. •Consider the use of mobile technologies for student administration tasks. •Consider the use of mobile technologies to support collaborative and group •learning. Discover and adopt suitable applications that match the needs of your specific •classroom and map directly to your curriculum needs. •Ensure security and privacy for the end users. Classification of Mobile Technologies: There are many different kinds of technology that can be classed as ‘mobile’. Mobile, to most, means ‘portable’ and ‘movable’. It also seems to implicate a’ personal’ as opposed to ‘shared’ context of use, and the terms ‘mobile’ and ‘personal’ are often used interchangeably –but a device might be one without necessarily being the other.
We can classify the range of mobile technologies using the two orthogonal Fig 1: Classification of Mobile Technology Classification of mobile technologies Personal, Shared, Portable Static Mobile phones, Games consoles, PDAs, Tablet PCs, Laptops Classroom response systems Videoconferencing Kiosks Electronic whiteboards. Quadrant 1 shows devices that can be classified as both portable and personal. These kinds of devices are what people most commonly think of in relation to mobile technologies: mobile phones, PDAs, tablet PCs and laptops.
It also includes hand-held video game consoles, with Rosas et al (2003) and Lee et al (2004) reporting on early evaluations of their educational use. Since these devices normally support a single user, they are generally perceived as being very personal. The networked nature of such devices affords communication and information sharing, meaning that while the devices themselves are personal, the information within them can be shared easily. These devices are portable because they are taken from place to place and hence they can be available in many different locations.
These are personal portable technologies. Some other technologies, less portable than mobile phones and PDAs, can still offer personal interactions with learning experiences. quadrant 2 Classroom response systems, shown in consist of individual student devices that are used to respond anonymously to multiple choice questions administered by a teacher on a central server. This technology is static in the sense that it can only be used in one location, but remains personal because of its small size and allocation to (typically) one single user. These are personal static technologies.
Being physically moved from one place to another is not the only way in which mobile technologies can be ‘portable’. quadrant 3 there are examples of technologies that can provide learning experiences to users on the move, but the devices themselves are not physically movable. Street kiosks, interactive museum displays and other kinds of installations offer pervasive access to information and learning experiences, but it is the learner who is portable, not the delivery technology. Such devices are typically seen as being less personal, and are likely to be shared between multiple users.
Their larger size means they are also better suited to multiple-user interactions. These are shared portable technologies. For more shareable interactions, the devices themselves must become larger and hence less portable. Examples include interactive classroom whiteboards and video-conferencing facilities, as shown in quadrant 4. These technologies have been included to show the complete space of possibilities engendered by our classification, but they would generally not be classed as mobile technologies.
We believe that ‘mobile technologies’ comprise all devices from quadrants 1-3, and those from quadrant 4 that are not at the extreme end of the ‘static’ dimension. An Activity –Based Approach to Considering Learning With Mobile Technologies Much of the research into the use of mobile technologies for learning is driven by the technical capabilities of new devices. This is not unexpected, given the rapidly changing face of mobile computing. These new capabilities inspire new practices which can lead to valuable outcomes, but, to date, application of theory to the use of these technologies for educational purposes is lacking.
In this section we consider the kinds of activities that can be enabled through the use of mobile devices under the categorization relevant theories from the study of learning and, in particular, learning with technology. Mobile technologies are computers, but that does not mean that they should be viewed as simply providing more portable versions of the learning activities that are currently supported on more static machines. Being mobile adds a new dimension to the activities that can be supported, both because of the personal and portable nature of the devices themselves, and because of the inds of interactions they can support with other learners and the environment. Klopfer et al (2002) identify five properties of mobile devices (PDAs in this case) that produce unique educational affordances: •Portability – the small size and weight of mobile devices means they can be taken to different sites or moved around within a site. •Social interactivity – data exchange and collaboration with other learners can happen face-to-face. SECTION 2 WITH MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES •Context sensitivity – mobile devices can both gather and respond to real or simulated data unique to the current location, environment and time. Connectivity – a shared network can be created by connecting mobile devices to data collection devices, other devices or to a common network. •Individuality – scaffolding for difficult activities can be customized for individual learners. . Classification of Activities: We have structured the classification of activities around the main theories and areas of learning relevant to learning with mobile technologies. The six main themes we have identified are: 1 Behaviourist – activities that promote learning as a change in observable actions.
The use of mobile devices to present learning materials, obtain responses from learners, and provide appropriate feedback, fits within the behaviorists learning paradigm. This paradigm draws on Skinner’s work on operant conditioning and behaviorism (Skinner 1968; itself based on Pavlov’s work on classical conditioning). Within this paradigm, learning is thought to be best facilitated through the reinforcement of an association between a particular stimulus and a response.
Applying this to educational technology, computer-aided learning is the presentation of a problem (stimulus) followed by the contribution from the part of the learner of the solution (response). Feedback from the system then provides the reinforcement. This type of learning adopts a transmission model – learning takes place through the transmission of information from the tutor (the computer) to the learner. Despite a move away from the behaviorist perspective within the field of learning theory, many e-learning systems still rely heavily on this approach.
Computers provide the ideal opportunity to present content, gather responses, and provide appropriate feedback. It would seem that this approach has lost none of its momentum in transferring to the use of mobile devices instead of desktop PCs; there is currently a great deal of interest in the use of mobile devices as a means to deliver such content, as the case studies in the next section will demonstrate. With regard to mobile delivery, we find that we are faced with challenges similar to those faced by early designers of computer-assisted learning (CAL) systems, when the technology was more limited.
Compared to today’s desktop computers, mobile devices have limited displays, restricted input methods, and low rates of connectivity. Despite these problems, ‘drill and feedback’ activities still offer a number of advantages: •content and feedback can be tailored to suit particular curriculum areas •valuable data can be gathered about the progress of individual students. •Present content-specific questions. These questions can range from simple review to probing questions at the heart of the subject matter.
Suggested solutions are invited by way of multiple choice options on the students’ devices. •Gather student responses rapidly and anonymously. •Quickly assemble a public, aggregate display to show the variation in the group’s ideas while maintaining individual anonymity (Roschelle et al 2004). 2 Constructivist – activities in which learners actively construct new ideas or concepts based on both their previous and current knowledge constructivist theories of learning were developed during the 1960s and 70s,inspired by the rise in cognitive theories of learning.
Bruner, a principal contributor, theorized that learning was an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based on both their current and past knowledge (Bruner 1966). The use of a cognitive structure to select and transform information, construct hypotheses and make decisions was heavily based on Piaget’s descriptions of the patterns of physical or mental action that underlie specific acts of intelligence and correspond to stages of child development (Piaget 1929).
The personal home computer of the 1980soffered tremendous advances in terms of display capabilities (text, graphics, video and sound were now possible) and interaction methods. The computer was no longer just a conduit for the presentation of information; it was a tool for the active manipulation of that information. The user or learner gained a locus of control in the learning activity that was missing from behaviorist approaches, and so dawned the era of ‘Powerful Ideas’ (Papert 1980).
For Papert, and others of the time, the computer became the tutee, rather than the tutor, and the learner engaged in the learning process through instructing the computer how to perform tasks and solve problems. This was accomplished through a specially designed computer programming language called Logo. Papert termed this alternative approach to constructivist learning constructionist, as learners were actively constructing their own knowledge and learning by building interactive models. Within a constructivist learning framework, instructors should encourage students to discover principles for themselves.
In order to transform learners from passive recipients of information to active constructors of knowledge we must give them an environment in which to participate in the learning process, and the appropriate tools to work with that knowledge. Mobile devices give us a unique opportunity to have learners embedded in a realistic context at the same time as having access to supporting tools. The most compelling examples of the implementation of constructivist principles with mobile technologies come from a brand of learning experience termed participatory simulations.
Participatory simulations In participatory simulations, the learners themselves act out key parts in an immersive recreation of a dynamic system. Each learner carries a networked device which allows them to become part of the dynamic system they are learning about. The aim of this approach is to move the simulation away from the computer screen and more into the tangible world that students can interact with. By making them part of the simulation itself, they are engaged in the learning process, and get to immediately see the effect their actions can have on the system as a whole.
They do not just watch the simulation, they are the simulation. 3 Situated – activities that promote learning within an authentic context and culture The situated learning paradigm, as developed by Lave et al (1991), holds that learning is not merely the acquisition of knowledge by individuals, but instead a process of social participation. The situation where the learning takes place has a great impact on this process. Brown et al (1989) also emphasis the idea of cognitive apprenticeship, where teachers (the experts) work alongside students (the apprentices) to create situations where the students an begin to work on problems even before they fully understand them. Situated learning requires knowledge to be presented in authentic contexts (settings and applications that would normally involve that knowledge) and learners to participate within a community of practice. By developing appropriate context-based teaching strategies with mobile technologies, we can fulfill both of these requirements. Three strands that are especially relevant to the use of mobile devices can be considered in relation to the situated learning paradigm.
They are problem based learning, case-based learning, and context-aware learning Problem-based learning: Problem-based learning (PBL)(Koschmann et al 1996) aims to develop students’ critical thinking skills by givingthem an ill-defined problem that is reflective of what they would encounter as a practicing professional. The problem is used as a basis for “learning by analogy and abstraction via reflection” (O’Malley et al 2003) . The distinct characteristics of PBL(Stepian and Gallagher 1993) include the following: Problems do not test skills; they assist in the development of skills, and are used to drive the curriculum •Problems are ill-structured, with minimal presenting information. Gathering information, perceiving the problem and developing the solution becomes an iterative process. •Students (usually in groups of five to six) solve the problems; teachers and coaches act as facilitators and give guidelines as to how the problem maybe approached. Assessment is authentic and performance based. Throughout the process of exploring a problem, students are encouraged to identify the areas of knowledge they will require to understand the problem.
The group then collects these learning issues, along with data, hypotheses and plans for future inquiry in a structured manner, which can be facilitated by shared information resources (eg physical or electronic whiteboard), and uses the collected information to develop a plan for the next iteration of problem formulation, solution, reflection and abstraction. Applications of PBL include medical education (Albanese and Mitchell 1993), business administration (Merchant 1995;Stinson and Milter 1995) and nursing (Higgins 1994). . 4. 2 Case-based learning Case-based learning (CBL) (Kolodner and Guzdial 2000) is similar to PBL, but relies on more well-defined problems, that mayor may not be representative of what students might encounter in the real world. CBL is more flexible than PBL in that it can be used in small or large classes and can be used as either an assessment exercise or as a catalyst for class discussions and lectures :Context-aware computing represents a relatively new area of research.
Context awareness means gathering information from the environment to provide a measure of what is currently going on around the user and the device. Activities and content that are particularly relevant to that environment can then be made available. Mobile devices are especially well suited to context-aware applications simply because they are available in different contexts, and so can draw on those contexts to enhance the learning activity. Context-aware mobile devices can support learners by allowing a learner to maintain their attention on the world and by offering appropriate assistance when required.
This kind of appropriate support can be seen as a form of scaffolding (Wood et al 1976). The museum and gallery sector has been on the forefront of context-aware mobile computing by providing additional information about exhibits and displays based on the visitor’s location within them. 4 Collaborative – activities that promote learning through social interaction Both the capabilities of mobile devices and their wide context of use contribute to their propensity to foster collaboration.
Mobile devices can easily communicate with other devices of the same or similar type, enabling learners to share data, files and messages. They can also be connected to a shared data network, further enhancing possibilities for communication. These devices are also typically used in a group setting, and so interactions and collaboration will tend to take place not just through the devices but also at and around them as well. Research into collaborative learning with mobile devices is greatly informed by previous research on computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL).
In reality, much current research into mobile learning can be classed as mobile-CSCL or MCSCL, and there is a specific focus on the use of mobile technologies to promote, facilitate and enhance interactions and collaborations between students. CSCL draws on many different learning theories. Situated learning theories emphasis the role of social interactions in the process of learning. Many new approaches to thinking about learning developed in the 1990s, most of which are rooted in Vygotsky’s socio-cultural psychology (Vygotsky 1978), including activity theory (see for example Engestrom 1987).
Though not traditionally linked with collaborative learning, another theory that is particularly relevant to our consideration of collaboration using mobile devices is conversation theory (Pask 1976), which describes learning in terms of conversations between different systems of knowledge. Pack was careful not to make any distinction between people and interactive systems such as computers, with the great advantage that the theory can be applied equally to human teachers and learners, or to technology-based teaching or learning support systems.
In order to constitute a ‘conversation’, the learner must be able to formulate a description of himself and his actions, explore and extend that description and carry forward the understanding to a future activity. In order to learn, a person or system must be able to converse with itself about what it knows. Learning can be even more effective when learners can converse with each other, by interrogating and sharing their descriptions of the world. We can say that the two people share an understanding if Person A can make sense of B’s explanations of what B knows, and person can make sense of A’s explanation of what A knows.
Thus, it is through mutual conversation that we come to a shared understanding of the world. Learning is a continual conversation; with the external world and its artifacts, with oneself, and also with other learners and teachers. The most successful learning comes when the learner is in control of the activity, able to test ideas by performing experiments, ask questions, collaborate with other people, seek out new knowledge, and plan new actions. Laurillard (1993) relates Pask’s theory to the realm of academic knowledge.
Though primarily concerned with the application of educational technology to university-level teaching, the ‘conversational framework ‘she puts forward can be applied to the full range of subject areas and topic types. The learning process includes the following aspects: apprehending structure, integrating parts, acting on descriptions, using feedback and reflecting on goal action- feedback. As illustrated in Fig 2, 4. 1 Technology and Teacher: Technology may play multiple roles within the conversation space. Technology may take the place of the teacher, as in drill and feedback.
The difficulty here is that the computer can hold a limited dialogue at the level of actions – “look here”, “what’s this? ”, “do that” – but is not able to reflect on its own activities or its own knowledge. And because it cannot hold a conversation at the level of descriptions, it has no way of exploring students’ misconceptions or helping them to reach a shared understanding. Technology can also demonstrate ideas or offer advice at the level of descriptions, as with the world wide web or online help systems, but their practical advice, at the level of actions, is limited.
Fig 2: Role of technology in supporting conversational learning Technology provides an environment to enable conversation Technology provides facility for practical model building Technology demonstrates or elicits models and elaborates problem solutions Technology acts to build models and assist in solving problems Learner demonstrates understanding of models and problem solutions Learner acts to build models and solve problems 4. 2 Learning With Mobile Technologies:
The technology provides a shared conversational learning space, which can be used not only for single learners but for groups of learners Mobile devices can support MCSCL by providing another means of coordination without attempting to replace any human- human interactions, as compared to say online discussion boards which substitute for face-to-face discussions. Hand-holds support MCSCL activities by directly addressing usability problems with conventional CSCL activities. The handheld stores all of the material and information necessary to organize the activity, and the user interface addresses. oordination by forcing the participants to perform one task at a time in a specific sequence. Communication is supported by making messages about activity status, data, error or results available to all participants, and synchronization is supported as each hand-held has to wait for the action of the other hand-held before moving to the next stage of the activity. By requiring all participants to agree on an answer before proceeding, the application facilitates interactivity and provides a negotiation space.
Finally, the hand-holds support mobility by allowing the participants to take the technology anywhere, and by allowing for natural social interactions. By effectively coupling an informatics layer with the social network layer, learning gains can be significant(Zurita and Nussbaum 2004). 5 Informal and lifelong Learning – activities that support learning outside a dedicated learning environment and formal curriculum. Learning happens all of the time and is influenced both by our environment and the particular situations we are faced with.
Informal learning may be intentional, for example through intensive, significant and deliberate learning’ projects’ (Tough 1971), or it may be accidental by acquiring information through conversations, TV and newspapers, observing the world, or even by experiencing an accident or embarrassing situation. Eraut (2000)classifies these ‘non-formal’ learning activities along a continuum of the learner’s intent, with the former activities representing deliberate learning and the latter activities representing implicit learning.
Activities in the middle of the continuum are described as reactive learning, which occurs in response to changing circumstances such as career promotion or parenthood. Indeed, studies of informal learning(Tough 1971; Livingstone 2001) show that most of adults’ learning happens outside formal education. While informal learning is a reality in people’s lives, they may not recognize it as learning. Tough (1971) notes:“…when the person’s central concern is task or decision, he will not be very interested in learning a complete body of subject matter.
Instead, he will want just the knowledge and skill that will be useful to him in dealing with the particular responsibility of the moment” (p51). 7Thus, people learn in order to be able to perform a new task, or even to be able to carry out a routine task in a better, more efficient or elegant way. Technology that is used to support learning should be blended with everyday life in the same way that learning is blended with everyday life: seamlessly and unobtrusively. Mobile technologies, with their reduced size and ease of use, provide the potential to support such activities.
With regard to accidental learning, learning episodes are impossible to predict. The personal and portable nature of mobile technologies makes them very strong candidates for recording, reflecting on and sharing this type of informal learning Teaching And Learning With Mobile Technology Specific Barriers: Some implementation problems highlighted include: •Problem of localized content: some questions were not relevant to what particular student had studied • Lack of detailed feedback for learners: the small screen size and memory capacity of the mobile phones meant that no detailed feedback about question responses could be given.
This was highlighted as a key issue that learners wanted to see addressed. •Compatibility across devices: despite Java being promoted as a cross platform environment, it was difficult to get the Java game running on all phones. •Costs: the SMS service was originally free, but excessive demand forced the BBC to charge for messages, leading to a significant decline in popularity. Key Issues : Compared to desktop technology, learning and teaching with mobile technology presents significant new challenges including: Context – the ability to acquire information about the user and his or her environment presents a unique ability to personalize the learning opportunity. There are, however, significant ethical issues (described further in Lonsdale et al 2003). For example, context information needs to be gathered with the consent of users, and must be stored securely to prevent misuse by third parties. This is also related to the issue of coupling between the informatics layer provided by the devices and the existing communication layers of the classroom (or other environment). Mobility – the ‘anytime, anywhere’ capabilities of mobile devices encourage learning experiences outside of a teacher-managed classroom environment. Inside the classroom, mobile devices provide students with the capabilities to link to activities in the outside world that do not correspond with either the teacher’s agenda or the curriculum (Sharples 2003). Both scenarios present significant challenges to conventional teaching practices. •Learning over time – lifelong learners will need effective tools to record, organize and reflect on their mobile learning experiences (Vavoula 2004). Informality – the benefits of the informality of mobile devices may be lost if their use becomes widespread throughout formal education. Students may abandon their use of certain technologies if they perceive their social networks to be under attack. •Ownership – both personal and group learning are most effectively supported when each student has access to advice. The ownership of the devices is thus a key consideration. According to Perry (2003), both tangible and intangible benefits can accrue through the use of mobile devices. Intangible benefits include a sense of belonging with the device and personal commitment and comfort.
Ownership isstated as a prerequisite for engagement, where students have the potential to go” beyond the necessary and play with into explore its potential”. Personal ownership does, however, present a challenge to the institutional control of the technology (Savill-Smith andKent 2003). Guidelines For Effective Implementation Of Mobile Learning : The following guidelines for implementing mobile learning 1. Investigate a cost model for infrastructure, technology and services. Various costs must be considered when implementing mobile learning.
In addition to the significant initial capital expenditure required to purchase devices and networking equipment, there is the ongoing cost of technical support and also various ‘hidden’ costs. The ‘Costs of Networked Learning’ project (Bacsich et al 1999; Bacsich et a(l2001), though targeted at wired networking, is helpful in assessing the extent of these hidden costs and provides a useful tool to support activity-based costing. Different options for infrastructure and services imply different cost models. In general, institutions should try and make use of their existing facilities and services in order to keep costs down.
It should be noted that it is generally less costly to equip each student with a handheld computer than with a desktop or laptop computer. Indeed, mobile technology can be used to address the’ digital divide’, as mobile devices are the cheapest way of providing pupils with a computing device that can be taken home and through which they can connect to the internet (Perry 2003). There may also be some hidden benefits, when compared to other ICT initiatives (Traxler 2004). The personal and collaborative nature of mobile devices can encourage participation and build social capital, which can be used to motivate disengaged or at-risk students.
As the education marketplace 2. becomes increasingly competitive, institutions can offer mobile learning opportunities as a competitive edge over other institutions. Mobile learning can fit training niches, such as in medical training, where significant costs are incurred for students who drop out or fail. Finally, there may also be an opportunity to leverage technologies that students already own such as mobile phones for SMS messaging. 3. Study the requirements of all those involved in the use of the technology(learners, teachers, content creators) to ensure that it is usable and acceptable.
Usability should account for both the set of users that will be creating the mobile content and those who will be using the mobile applications to learn from or teach with. 4. Assess that the technology is suited to the learning task and examine advantages and disadvantages of each technology before making a decision on which one to use. The effective implementation of mobile learning requires a clear pedagogical approach, identification of specific learning needs/goals and teachers to be directly involved in decisions on planning and curriculum use (Perry 2003). . Assign the necessary roles for initiating and thereafter supporting mobile learning. 6. Develop procedures and strategies for the management of equipment when it is provided by the institution. These procedures include the need to develop strategies for assigning equipment to students, restricting students’ off-task use (if desired),synchronizing hand-held to desktop, tracking, reviewing and collecting students’ work, devising and implementing parental agreements for managing loss and theft, hardware management and routine backup procedures. Provide training and (ongoing)technical support to the teachers to enable them to use mobile technologies to enhance current and to enable new instructional activities. 7. Consider the use of mobile technologies for student administration tasks. 8. Mobile devices can be used to maintain accurate lists of classes which can be used in conjunction with rich information sets about students to help to draw out individual students’ needs. 9.
Applications that could be supported include truancy control, classroom monitoring and marking with immediate feedback. a. Consider the use of mobile technologies to support collaborative and group learning. b. Discover and adopt suitable applications that match the needs of your specific classroom and map directly to your curriculum needs. c. Ensure security and privacy for the end users. Privacy protection includes both the student’s personal data and the student’s current location. Conclusions:
Mobile technologies are becoming more embedded, ubiquitous and networked, with enhanced capabilities for rich social interactions, context awareness and internet connectivity. Such technologists have a great impact on learning. Learning will move more and more outside of the classroom and into the learner’s environments, both real and virtual, thus becoming more situated, personal, collaborative and lifelong. The challenge will be to discover how to use mobile technologies to transform learning into a seamless part of daily life to the point where it is not recognized as learning at all.
Today we are witnessing the emergence of a connected, mobile society, with a variety of information sources and means of communication available at home, work, school and in the community at large. Some even describe this as the beginning of the next social revolution (for example, Rheingold 2003). A high proportion of population have mobile phones (75%general population, 90% young adults; Crabtree et al 2003) that can handle both voice calls and the display of textual information.
Many newer phones also have the ability to connect wirelessly to the internet. Hand-held computers, otherwise known as personal digital assistants (PDAs), are also becoming more widespread (BBC 2004), being distributed by employers who are eager to keep their workforce productive whilst on the move. Laptops, though already a well-established technology, have gained new appeal when combined with the connectivity of newer mobile phones – a laptop can now use a mobile phone as a means to dial-up the internet and in doing so offer a truly mobile web experience.
Furthermore, kiosks and information screens are appearing all around the country, and both researchers and industry are keen to exploit the potential of these ‘ambient’ approaches to providing rich information spaces. There is considerable interest from educators and technical developers in exploiting the unique capabilities and characteristics of mobile technologies to enable new and engaging forms of learning. This review explores the use of these mobile technologies for learning, considered against a backdrop of existing learning theories that have been applied to the use of computers in education. to identify the different types of mobile technologies that are applicable to learning •to explore new and emerging practices relating to the use of mobile technologies for learning •to identify the learning theories that are relevant to these new practices •to present a set of exemplary case studies demonstrating uses of mobile technologies for learning •to present key issues and guidelines to inform current educational practice and policy •to encourage educators and technical developers to rethink their roles for the future of learning with mobile technologies. Referrences
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