Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Amazing Uses of Mobile Devices for Learning

What’s mobile learning? There is an ideal definition that had been written down even before iOS mobile devices got popular.

Mobility requires the ability to casually use a device on the go — without sitting down. While this may seem arbitrary it is important in that it influences the way we use these devices. They aren’t only for long focused sessions, but can also be used for bite–sized interactions taking place for mere seconds in the context of some other related (or unrelated) activity. This is the first of several defining factors that Kurt Squire and I (Klopfer & Squire 2007) outlined as being unique affordances of mobile devices for learning. The relevance of these five affordances has only increased over time.

  • portability — can take the computer to different sites and move around within a location
  • social interactivity — can exchange data and collaborate with other people face to face
  • context sensitivity — can gather data unique to the current location, environment, and time, including both real and simulated data
  • connectivity — can connect handhelds to data collection devices, other handhelds, and to a common network that creates a true shared environment
  • individuality — can provide unique scaffolding that is customized to the individual’s path of investigation.

Several authors have published a free ebook with experiences and activities that designed to take advantage of what is special and unique about mobile devices. They are also leading the field into new directions that show what is powerful, interesting and unique about mobile learning. They also start to tackle what is perhaps the biggest challenge posed by mobile devices in the space of learning — turning consumers into producers. Kurt Squire even asked :

Could we build educational games that used the real world as a game board, using digital devices to layer a fictitious world around it?

This book contains a lot of stories of people doing amazing things. Most of them were accomplished by people doing unusual things.

Mobile Media Learning: Amazing Uses of Mobile Devices for Learning  –– by Seann Dikkers, John Martin, Bob Coulter et al. 2012, ETC Press

mlearning, mobile learningMobile Media Learning shares innovative uses of mobile technology for learning in a variety of settings. From camps to classrooms, parks to playgrounds, libraries to landmarks, Mobile Media Learning shows that exciting learning can happen anywhere educators can imagine. Join these educator/designers as they share their efforts to amplify spaces as learning tools by engaging learners with challenges, quests, stories, and tools for investigating those spaces.

In addition, Mobile Media Learning shares tips, guides, and plans for building your own mobile game or game design ‘jam’. Start building mobile learning experiences today!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License. You can download it for free.

About the publisher

ETC Press is a publishing imprint with a twist. We publish books, but we’re also interested in the participatory future of content creation across multiple media. We are an academic, open source, multimedia, publishing imprint affiliated with the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and in partnership with


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2 Responses »


  1. Amazing Uses of Mobile Devices for Learning | Learning Molecules |
  2. 5 Predictions on Mobile Learning | Classroom Aid

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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