Welcome. Please Turn Your Mobile On.

15 05 2006

Mobile devices may be seen by some educators as an interference with learning, rather than a positive aid. Tales of mobile phones being used as tools for school bullying are rife; mobile phones ringing in classes are seen as a distraction; students with iPods in classrooms present an image of being disengaged from learning.

Some people might suggest that these connotations detract from the presentation of mobile devices as learning tools. However, I perceive that they demonstrate, in fact, the strength of mobile devices as potential tools for delivering learning.

All of the scenarios presented above demonstrate the pervasive nature of mobile technology. When it pervades a learning environment, it is seen as a detraction from learning. But isn’t is possible for this pervasiveness to be used to the advantage of educators? That it infers, conversely, that educational delivery can be achieved in other facets of learners’ lives, so as to pervade their lifestyles with flexible and convenient learning opportunities?

To achieve pervasive mobile learning would require tact to ensure that learners did not view mobile learning as “intruding” into their private domain. Rather, mobile learning needs to be framed in a way that provides it as a tool or opportunity to increase the flexibility of learning and make it more personal and enjoyable for learners. This would be the start of truly creating “Classrooms Without Walls”…

An example of how this might be achieved is a simple “show and tell” activity. Each week, students could be tasked with finding, recording, and showing to their peers, some piece of evidence that ties in with their learning that they encounter in their everyday lives. It’s a fun activity, and allows learners to relate to each other something of how the material they are learning has touched them personally (demonstrating relevance) while using a mobile learning approach for its strengths (convenience of having a mobile recording device integrated with lifestyle).

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