‘Mobile learning’ is a term that varies with context and culture. Related concepts include ‘1 to1 learning’, ‘pervasive learning’, ‘ambient learning’ and ‘ubiquitous learning’. Each of these can have some combination of technological, educational, or socio-cultural orientation (e.g. learning in a mobile world). This is a strength not a weakness of the field, showing its interdisciplinarity and trans-national scope.
Thus, mobile learning research in Europe, arising from the MOBIlearn and m-Learning projects has an emphasis on the mobility of the learner and connecting learning across contexts. In the United States, a predominant focus is on effective delivery of instructional content and applications on portable devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. A related perspective from Asia, associated with the G1:1 network, embraces 1 to 1 learning in classrooms with each child equipped with a personal wireless device. Distance learning institutions see the opportunity to support students with personalised toolkits for anytime anywhere learning. Another perspective embraces ‘mobile technology for development’, where mobilised services including SMS and smartphone web access can enable new forms of learning for basic skills education, professional enhancement, and knowledge sharing.
In my presentation I shall offer an international perspective on the current state and future prospects for mobile learning, in a world of globalised education, online tutoring, open educational resources, and personalised learning services. I shall illustrate this with some examples of where personal meets global, through open inquiry learning.
Utilizing the location-awareness of mobile devices in developing innovative mobile application system has attracted much attention of academic researchers and commercial application developers. Location-based mobile learning systems have taken mobile learning one step further into the realm of ubiquitous learning by taking advantage of the mobile devices to enhance learner’s interaction with their current learning context. This talk will discuss the 5R adaptation framework that has been designed to take into consideration the learner characteristics, the device used by the learner at a particular moment, the current location and past location traces, the timing of learning and the learning contents to suit the current learning goals of the learner. The implications of such contextual learning scenarios will be discussed in the context of authentic learning, that has potential to seamlessly integrate the real physical objects with vast virtual information available online. The talk will conclude with demonstration of applications developed as proof of concept.
Our main research focus into the bridging of formal and informal learning has been centred on the notion of seamless learning where learning is distributed across different learning processes (emergent or planned), learning spaces (in or out of class), time, personalized and social learning, and multiple device types. In this talk, we conduct a macro review of the state of our research in seamless learning.
As a backdrop, our contributions to seamless learning are situated within the paradigm of design-based research and implementation. We worked with a primary school in Singapore to study how 9-year-old students leveraged on mobile technology for seamless learning. The research was conducted across various grade levels and subjects (science, mathematics, Chinese language), over longitudinal time scales of between one to three years. Our intervention comprised transforming the science curriculum to harness the affordances of 1:1 mobile technology for inquiry learning. In the spirit of seamless learning, we also fostered the continuous, pervasive, and longitudinal use of mobile technologies for learning anytime and anywhere beyond the confines of classroom. To study such informal learning experiences, we further selected a few students for intensive shadowing to understand their learning patterns in informal environments such as home and the local science centre. We contend that by incorporating the temporal and spatial aspects, we are not only looking at the episodic learning events that happened in our participants’ life but their learning trajectory over time through multi-site ethnographies as well.
This work has given us a unique opportunity to interweave a fabric of students’ seamless learning experiences enabled by 1:1 mobile devices and to share the lessons we have learned in this research. With regard to methodology, we adopted interventionist methods for formal learning, and ethnographic methods for studying informal learning. We will share how the work has informed theory and design principles for seamless learning. Concerning research directions, this work has inspired and led to scaling up of the seamless learning designs and curricula, and to dialogues with the Singapore Ministry of Education on policy and practices for 1:1 computing. To rise above, we posit a participatory research agenda where we believe the concerted effort from the international research community can collectively advance both the fundamental understanding and the applied use of seamless learning.
The advance of wireless communication, sensing and mobile technologies has provided unprecedented opportunities to implement new learning strategies by integrating real-world learning environments and the resources of the digital world. With the help of these new technologies, individual students are able to learn in real situations with support or instructions from the computer system by using a mobile device to access the digital content via wireless communications. In such a learning environment, the learning system is able to detect the learning behaviors of the students in the real world with the help of the sensing technology. Such a new technology-enhanced learning model enables learning systems to provide learning suggestions to students when they encounter problems in the real world.
In this invited talk, several applications of mobile and ubiquitous learning are presented; moreover, several issues concerning this innovative approach, including the development of Mindtools and learning systems, the design of learning activities, and the investigation of students' learning performance, are reported as well.