Mobility is more than the use of mobile technologies; it is also about learner mobility (Kukulska-Hulme 2009). Wireless and hand held technology has opened up the possibilities for a more flexible and creative way for teachers to work in the classroom – voting pads, tablets, iPads, iPod Touch – but it has also enabled learning to move beyond the classroom and facilitate pupils participating in community-based activities.
Geddes (2004) characterises mobile learning as mLearning:
‘mLearning is the acquisition of any knowledge and skill through using mobile technology anywhere, anytime, that results in an alteration in behaviour’ (Geddes, 2004: 1)
mLearning enables location-based learning in which technologies are integral to the activity. This is becoming easier through developments such as smartphones, tablets and cloud computing. Geddes suggests that the advantages to mLearning are: access, context, collaboration, and appeal.
Case Study 2 exemplifies the value of mLearning where pupils used iPod Touches to create a trail of QR codes in a local community park. Similarly Case Study 4 describes how students prepared material can be accessed using QR codes at a local science museum – the science museum providing the inspiration for the students’ work initially; the boundaries between school, virtual spaces and the museum were dissolved. Case Study 5 shows how iPads were used effectively to support learning in and out of the classroom.
For many children mobile technologies have also introduced a new means of creating and maintaining social networks. As Merchant argues, online social networking can be seen as a newer way of enhancing or modifying pre-existing relations (Merchant 2011). For teachers, mobile technologies have opened up opportunities to communicate with their students in a different way. One teacher, Case Study 8, uses Twitter regularly to signpost information for parents, colleagues and peers and many schools now use Twitter or text messaging as a means of communicating with students and parents. It is only a small step to integrating these practices into teaching and learning activities.
For references see 3.6.6 References / Links to Further Resources