Light Offerings

Mobile Learning – A Conference Report

Posted by jturner56 on May 26, 2015

What did I learned from the International Mobile Learning Conference ( where I attended and presented this past weekend?

  1. While laptops as used within our school provide many of the affordances that Mobile Learning researchers are exploring, the importance of context and teacher values in curriculum design remain key determinants of what can be achieved. Perhaps a sobering reminder was the newspaper report last week, based on a London School of Economics study, that schools that ban mobile phones see better academic results.
  2. When considering MobilFullSizeRender(1)e Learning there is some interesting and relevant work by Matthew Kearney and Kevin Burden, which includes Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective (2012) and Investigating distinctive pedagogies in mobile learning (2014). They are also involved in the European Erasmus Project and have identified three main mobile learning characteristics: Personalisation, Collaboration and Authenticity.
  3. There is a strong link between Mobile Learning research and 21C Skills as promoted by the Partnership for 21C Learning. SAMR and TPACK were put forward as suitable change management approaches for schools.
  4. The eBook is also being looked at as more than ‘paper under glass’
  5. It was also interesting to hear from differing contexts, such as a Bangladesh study that is starting with phones and no previous digital education legacies. They have found mobile phones used by students for (A) storing learning materials (B) for accessing information and knowledge (C) as an effective and efficient learning tool (D) and as effective for collaboration.
  6. Mobile Learning researchers expect both the infusion of mobile devices within and across societies, and accruing educational opportunities and demands to expand into the future.
  7. The personal learning aspects of personal mobile digital devices will continue to put more pressure on standardised approaches. Relevant to this, researchers at the University of Limerick (2012) found a “notable trend of standardisation and pupil passivity within the classroom.” Once again it remain to educators as learning designers to incorporate digital in ways that take on board and promote authenticity, personalisation and collaboration in the learning opportunities provided.
  8. In the end, the importance of understanding context, clarity of objectives, and openness to learning by all stakeholders remain  cornerstones of digital change in education. In terms of Mobile Learning, as with all digital technology developments, integration of personal aspects into curriculum design requires teacher leadership and awareness of what can be achieved. Teachers remain spread across an epistemological continuum that makes systemic change difficult. (See for the graphic displayed)
  9. Within my school this conference translates into further considering opportunities to support (A) multiple devices for senior students to support efficiency choices (B) the importance of curriculum tasking through the middle years (and beyond) to generate learning outcomes appropriate for the students and the world they face, and which evolve as earlier learning progresses and (C) ensuring mobile device use in early years advances learning dispositions of similar value. This is nothing new for the Digital Age.

(My Conference Paper: Mobile Learning in K-12 Education: Personal meets Systemic is available here)


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