What is Mobile Learning?

People increasingly expect to be connected to the Internet and the rich tapestry of knowledge it contains wherever they go. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, enable users to do just that via cellular networks and wireless power. At the end of 2012, the mobile market consisted of over 6.5 billion subscribers, with a majority living in developing countries. The growing number of users, coupled with the unprecedented evolution of these devices, has opened the door to myriad uses for education. Learning institutions all over the world are exploring ways to make their websites, educational materials, resources, and opportunities all available online and optimized for mobile devices. The most compelling facet of mobile learning right now is mobile apps. Smartphones and tablets have redefined what we mean by mobile computing, and in the past four to five years, apps have become a hotbed of development, resulting in a plethora of learning and productivity apps. These tools, ranging from annotation and mind-mapping apps to apps that allow users to explore outer space or get a more in-depth look at complex chemicals, enable users to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).
Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 7, 2012

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

  • There are so many different markets for mobile learning - from developing nations where mobile may be the primary source of online access, to places where online learning is highly developed and mobile provides potential extensions. For places where online and face to face learning are already highly developed, mobile is still really in its infancy. The most common uses are practice and information access. But the world of apps can provide guidance for the uniquely mobile interactions that are possible.- klopfer klopfer Aug 21, 2013 Having done some research on mobile learning, I think that we are actually using mobile devices in fixed locations (classroom, home, work, etc..) It is really difficult to concentrate in something more than reading a brief document while traveling- Uriel.Cukierman Uriel.Cukierman Aug 24, 2013
  • I agree with klopfer that mobile technology is particularly interesting for markets in the developing world, in addition to here in the US. I spoke at the mEducation Alliance event last year, and was able to interact with people involved in a variety of initiatives around the world. - kstubbs kstubbs Aug 27, 2013
  • I've commented in another section on the need for distance teaching institutions to use technologies that are mature in the consumer market and thus accessible at acceptable costs. mobile phones are in that category with stats showing that in some countries there are more phone accounts than people. I note Uriel's point about concentration limiting effectiveness to brief documents only, but much STEM teaching would benefit from short, concise exposition.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • It is important to emphasize the use of mobile beyond just making things smaller. Mobile experiences are typically shorter, often disrupted, etc. - klopfer klopfer Aug 21, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 3, 2013
  • I think that we are about the see an explosion in the gesture based computing in our mobile tablets, smart phones, etc. Google glass is here and Samsung is set to release a new watch... all of these advancements will change the way that we interact with mobile learning. Until now, we focused on touch screen interaction - I believe that's just the surface of where mobile learning will take us. - kstubbs kstubbs Aug 27, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 3, 2013
  • I think recent research about context-aware and adaptive mobile learning would offer more efficiency to mobile learning and personalization to satisfy different needs of users. - mohamed.jemni mohamed.jemni Sep 1, 2013
  • Not sure which domain to place this theme. Video engagement. A video engagement platform that allows web publishers to stimulate discussion and debate within their web and mobile properties.
    http://www.squabbler.com - michael.lambert michael.lambert Sep 2, 2013
  • Beyond content delivery to active data gatherer - this crosses other topics mobile broadband & tablets. The crossover occurs when the students gather data and share within and beyond their classes, and may be able to contribute to citizen science projects. - alanwolf alanwolf Sep 2, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • One unique aspect for STEM education is access to the sensors in mobile devices. These can provide ubiquitous and sophisticated tools for conducting experiments.
  • STEM+ is comprised of naturally interactive subjects - the increasing mobility of these devices plus the potential for more make it a perfect fit. - kstubbs kstubbs Aug 27, 2013
  • add your response here- klopfer klopfer Aug 21, 2013
  • This style of use fits with crowd sourcing data collection and citizen science observation exercises.

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

  • We (MIT) have developed casual mobile games (called UbiqGames) and also location-based games (MITAR and Taleblazer). Many others have also done work with location-based mobile games (Chris Dede at Harvard, Kurt Squire at UW Madison, Matt Dunleavy at Radford, and the 7 Scenes Project from the Waag).- klopfer klopfer Aug 21, 2013
  • BrainPOP offers mobile apps across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Win8, Google Play, Chrome Webstore, and Kindle. These apps provide access to STEM+ related digital content no matter the device - great for BYOD. - kstubbs kstubbs Aug 27, 2013
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