Mobile Learning

I was required to do some research on mobile learning. I am not particularly enthused by the idea of formal learning on mobile phones and don’t have much insight into mobile learning or the use of mobile devices in education. However some thoughts emerged after my digging around:

  • Mobile phones will play a major role in social networking. They will be a key tool for social networking.
  • Downloading songs, ring tones and wallpapers will be the main applications. Gaming on mobile phones is also increasing. Major content revenue from mobile phones will be from these applications.
  • M-Learning still needs to be explored. There are educational institutes in New Zealand that are using a system that allows students to send SMS and receive on demand learning and supporting information.
  • Mobile devices can be used in schools to teach students simple applications like calendar to build time tables, address books, voice recorders etc. Other applications could be conversational language learning, online research, group learning etc.
  • There will be social resistance to using cell phones in schools as learning devices. Currently cell phones are banned in most schools and to start using them as learning devices will require a change in social mindset. Like any other technology (e.g. television, computer games), cell phones will be prone to causing a bad influence on children and as a society we will need to learn to deal with it, while using it for the benefits the technology can provide. Schools haven’t changed while technology has evolved significantly. See presentation on Disruptive Mobile Learning. Parental Control on mobiles will be a good application to have. That’s the parent in me talking :-).
  • Mobile phones will primarily be used for informal learning. Formal learning through mobile phones is still some time away.
  • Mobile phones can be used in our context for test preparation. Short practice tests can be taken via SMS.
  • PDAs and high end phones hold greater possibilities of providing richer applications that allow learning. The iPhone has great applications for flash cards. These applications can be used for learning much like physical flash cards.
  • Mobility is not limited to phones. Podcasts are increasingly popular in adult learning. These are audio recordings that can be downloaded on to iPod (or any mp3 player). The audio recordings can be heard while on the move. So are podcasts mobile learning?