What is Mobile Learning?

For several years now, a revolution has been taking place in software development that parallels similar shifts in the music, publishing, and retail industries. Mass market is giving way to niche market, and with it, the era of highly priced large suites of integrated software has shifted to a new view of what software should be. Mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS have redefined mobile computing, and in the past three to four years, the small, low-cost software extensions to these devices — apps — have become a hotbed of development. Simple but useful apps have found their way into almost every form of human endeavor, and a popular app can see millions of downloads in a very short time. The huge market for apps has spawned a flood of creativity that is instantly apparent in the extensive collections available in the app stores. Online app marketplaces provide an easy and highly efficient way to deliver software that reduces distribution and marketing costs significantly. Mobile apps continue to gain traction in education because they are particularly useful for learning as they enable people to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices.

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

  • Mobile elarning is used more and more in the school sector, but is is seldom thought of as a specific methodology or way of learning. Since we all, both teachers and students, are so used to having our own smartphone and to use it all the time, we do not think of it as mobile learning. But it is definetly relevant for the schools. - jan.hylen jan.hylen Dec 5, 2014 - stefan stefan Dec 7, 2014
  • Mobile learning is, from my point of view based on my own research, the only possible path to choose when it comes to preschools and other similar institutions for toddlers and young children. Learning at these educational sites occurs just as much at an excursion in the forest, at the lunch table or in the playground as in the school desks. Stationary computers or laptops were never really implemented in activities with the children in preschools, whereas the implementation of for example digital tablets have been extremely fast and are used by the children, probably depending on the user friendly and allowing digital interface. - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander Dec 6, 2014
  • To make education scenarios more authentic and / or to combine the theory of the classroom with 'real life relevans and understanding' for the students it's an advantage that the students do not have to stay in the classroom with a stationary digital device but can learn by being mobile. By being able to bring the device outside the classroom and use it for documentation, for later sharing and collaboration with others who did not participate, who are placed in another part of the school/municipality/country etc. OR to be able to show to your teacher, that you actually understand the classroom theory. Whether it is to 'show & tell' how an animal live, how to illustrate multiplication like 3 x 4 in a real life situation (windows in a building) doesn't matter. It will shown that the student can not only reproduce (or even worse: just copy!) facts theoretically but also understand the theory and know how to communicate the essence to others. [Jette Risgaard]

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Digital educational applications for children aged 1-6 have an intense impact on preschool, since preschools do not traditionally invest in textbooks and teaching aids to the same extent as schools. The supply of apps designed for children’s language development, mathematical skills and so on is overwhelming and preschools download hundreds of apps to their digital tablets. It will be interesting to see how these apps will be a part of forming preschool’s aims and work. - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander Dec 6, 2014
  • As many teenagers live a parallel on-line life where things are only important if you can get digital access, it's more or less updated constantly, you can add your own data and are able to share it with friends, they will more and more want to be able to learn and share whereever they are also outside school-hours. This calls for a re-thinking of the traditional analog schoolbook, but also for a re-thinking of what 'products' teachers ask the students to 'deliver'. Ex: Is it enough to ask the students to read a novel and afterwards write a report of the content of the novel? This could easily be found and copied from the internet! Or should the task rather be, that students alone or together should produce a video, a playwrite etc. about the novel which can show that they have actually worked with the novel. Mobile learning in this way matters as schools might not have the facilities to cater fall or students working digitally at all hours. Shy students may also prefer to rather solve the task in more private surroundings or in surroundings more suitable than a classroom. [Jette Risgaard]
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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