• What is it?
Mobile learning is the ability to obtain or provide educational content on personal pocket devices such as PDAs, smartphones and mobile phones. Educational content refers to digital learning assets which includes any form of content or media made available on a personal device.
Mobile learning using handheld computers is in its infancy in terms of both technologies and pedagogies. As a result there is still some dispute amongst industry advocates in how mobile learning should be defined: in terms of devices and technologies; in terms of the mobility of learners and the mobility of learning, and in terms of the learners’ experience of learning with mobile devices.
• How does it differ to other types of learning?
E learning takes place as a lecture in the classroom or internet labs whereas mobile learning can place at anywhere and at any time. The learning process and support and guidance takes through e-mail-to-e-mail communication whereas with mobile learning the messaging happens on a instantaneous basis. E-learning takes place in a private location which has to be organised prior to the lesson taking place. Mobile learning on the other hand has no boundaries and can take place wherever is deemed suitable. It takes time for the person or people who are involved in the learning to reach the intended site of e-learning. Whereas, due to the wireless connectivity there are no travel time concerns with mobile learning.
How does your work fit into the Mobile learning space?
If the mobile devices that the children use have Flash player then they will be able to view the Powtoon video from home whenever they wish too. They will also be able to play the Road safety game on Scratch.
If like some, the mobile devices that children have do not have the required Flash player installed or it is not available on their device then they will not be able access the online content when they are at home so they will not benefit from this form of learning.
Negative aspects of mobile learning
Disadvantages include: the potential for non-learning because of distraction, using the mobile device for another purpose or unethical behavior, inappropriate use of the device rather than learning. Physical health concerns, staring at the screen for too long and not getting enough exercise. Data privacy issues, Sharing of personal information of young children when they have sign up to the websites such as Scratch and Kahoot.
Cultural norms and attitudes
Experts in the field are yet to be convince that mobile devices are the way forward in transforming the learning and overall education of children. Rather that teachers see devices such as the mobile phone as a distraction tool.
No mobile theory of learning
There is currently no widely accepted learning theory for mobile technologies. This has caused a delay in the effective assessment, pedagogy, and design of new applications for learning.
Differentiated access and technology
There are many different varieties of mobile devices for the teachers and learners to choose from. This can present a problem because they may be unsure which will be the best for them to improve their academic outcome.
Limiting physical attributes
If mobile technologies are poorly designed then this can adversely affect usability and can distract children from the intended learning goals. Physical aspects of mobile technologies that may prevent an optimal learning experience include: restricted text entry, small screen size, and limited battery life.
Mobl21. (2017). MOBILE LEARNING BASICS. Available: http://www.mobl21.com/Basics_Of_Mobile_Learning.pdf. Last accessed 9th May 2017.