Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Toward a Mobile Learning Friendly Environment

The good, the bad, the challenges, infokit, toolkit and “quick win” strategy for mobile learning, at a glance.

Mobile Learning: It’s Not Just About the Kids; It’s Also About the Teachers!

The reality voice:

During a standard, PowerPoint presentation at FETC in Orlando (Jan 31, 2013), Cathie received a hearty, loud “amen” from a teacher in attendance. The amen was in response to Cathie’s comment: “Teachers are tired of being told to use computers in their classroom but then given learning activities geared to pencil-and-paper. The assumption is that teachers will, on their own time, just figure it out. No! Teachers need to demand that they be given the right tools to do their job; teachers need to demand that they be given curriculum designed for the computers in their classrooms.” In particular, Cathie was referring to mobile computers such as iPads.

Amen–is indeed, an appropriate comment!

Toward a mobile learning strategy

by Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow, University of Leicester

In order for a school or university to strategically implement mobile learning, it must, as an institution… (read the post) It is therefore worthwhile to consider some ‘quick win’ mobile learning scenarios:

1. Add a mobile stylesheet to the institutional website — so that any mobile device will nicely display the site

2. Add a mobile-friendly front end to an RSS feed. For example, many universities broadcast news via a blog, which creates an RSS feed. When this is run through Google Feedburner, a mobile-friendly RSS feed is created.

3. Set up social media accounts to broadcast news and updates.

4. Turn on the mobile version of your VLE or LMS. At University of Leicester, we began to make use of the Blackboard Mobile Learn app last autumn. This is not a free option within Blackboard, however.

5. Invest in secure SMS text messaging services on behalf of the institution. Sending texts to let students know a lecture has been cancelled is usually very well appreciated.

6. Try making some learning materials available not only as Word documents but as pdf (viewable on all mobile devices) and epub, and ask students for feedback on how they look on their devices. The free software Calibre easily converts a document to epub. It is best to save a Word document first as html, then import into Calibre, then convert to epub. Additionally it can be converted to mobi pocket, the format for Kindles.

JISC Mobile Learning infokit

This infoKit is a practical guide to thinking through the issues relating to institutional adoption of mobile learning. It follows a JISC Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review which delves deeper into the theory behind mobile learning and the wider context. One of the biggest take-aways from that review is that mobile learning is still in its infancy and that mobile learning, as explained in What is mobile learning? is about the mobility of the learner rather than the device.

According to Mike Sharples, a leading authority in the field, mobile learning can be defined as:

the processes (both personal and public) of coming to know through exploration and conversation across multiple contexts amongst people and interactive technologies  —  SHARPLES, M., ET AL, 2007

The key word here is context. Mobile learning allows for a contextualisation of learning that is impossible with desk-bound computing.

A number of snapshots and case studies highlight institutions and projects that have been involved in mobile learning initiatives. The snapshots explore the background, experiences and lessons learned from implementing and embedding mobile learning.


Case studies

Even White House created a BYOD toolkit

A Toolkit to Support Federal Agencies Implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Programs, August 23, 2012

The Digital Government Strategy (the Strategy) (PDF/HTML), issued by Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Steven VanRoekel on May 23, 2012, called for the establishment of a Digital Services Advisory Group (Advisory Group) to promote cross-agency sharing and accelerated adoption of mobile workforce solutions and best practices in the development and delivery of digital services. Milestone Action #3.3 of the Strategy requires the Advisory Group to work with the Federal CIO Council (CIOC) to develop government-wide bring-your-own-device (BYOD)guidance based on lessons learned from successful BYOD programs launched at forward-leaning agencies.

Mobile Learning Initiative (MLI) from Ohio Government

Many schools are looking at developing a Mobile Learning Initiative strategy for use with students to either provide the students with mobile learning devices or allow them to bring devices that they are using at home to school.

eTech Ohio has developed this toolkit/framework in order to provide some guidance on how to proceed. Included in this will be samples of policies, checklists and other resources for use in developing this initiative.

Mobile Learning in ELT: Survey 2013

from Nik Peachey

One of the main observations from this survey was that many teachers were in fact ready and willing to embrace mobile learning and mobile devices, but that publishers seemed to be more reluctantly lagging behind.

Over the last 18 months since publishing the 2011 survey results, mobile learning seems to have made its way into the main stream of discourse surround the implementation of educational technology in our schools and universities, so I have decided once again, thanks to the support of the Bell Educational Services Teacher Training department,  to launch a more extensive survey building on the original one to try to discover the extent to which the ‘talk’ about mobile learning has had any genuine impact and realisation in our schools and classrooms over the past three to four years.

mobile learning

from UNESCO ICT in Education

The Second UNESCO Mobile Learning Week (MLW) from 18 to 22 February 2013 is currently ongoing at its headquarters in Paris, France (Twitter: #mlw2013). There are over 3.2 billion unique mobile phone subscribers worldwide, making mobile phones the most widely used interactive ICT on Earth. In developed countries 4 out of 5 people own and use a mobile phone, and while this ratio is significantly lower in developing countries (2:5), these countries are also experiencing the fastest growth in penetration rates. By 2017, it is estimated that approximately half the people living in developing countries will have at least one active mobile phone subscription (GSMA, 2012). Newer mobile technologies such as tablet computers are further changing the ICT landscape. Industry experts predict that the sales of touch-screen tablets are likely to parallel or surpass purchases of PCs as early as 2016 (NPD, 2012).

It’s time to gear toward a mobile learning friendly environment.


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2 Responses »


  1. Toward a Mobile Learning Friendly Environment | Social Learnoing Curve |
  2. ARLearn for Authoring Mobile Serious Games | 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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