Monday, May 19, 2014

Handbook of mobile learning - summary and overview

New book at the CPIT library published by Routledge (2013) and edited by Z.L. Berge and L. Y. Muilenburg. The book is a contains a comprehensive corpus of work to date on mobile learning frameworks, theories, pedagogies and challenges.

Book has 53 chapters in five parts. Relevant chapters to our project surface tablet summarised.
Chapters are short and cover a good spectrum of mlearning sphere to date. The list of contents has short summaries of each chapter.

Part 1 –Foundation and Future has 12 chapters providing overview of the evolution, foundational theories and possible future trajectories of mlearning.

Chapter 1 by Helen Crompton covers the development of mlearning through it’s elearning roots. Definitions of mlearning are proposed. The pedagogical shifts in education also summarised from the 1970s (discovery learning) to constructivist (1980s), constructionist (later 1980s), problem-based learning and socio-constructivist (1990s) along with learning centred developments. The advances in ‘educational technology’ also summarised through 1970s to 1990s.

Chapter 2 - W.C. Diehl covers ‘mlearning as a subfield of open and distance ed.’ A mainly American historical evolution of distance learning is summarised from the 1800s through postal / paper-based, to the emergence of radio and TV.

Chapter 3 by T. Cochrane provides ‘a summary and critique of m-learning research and practice’ through overview of the various phases and research approaches used. Key mlearning projects, sources of research funding, project contexts and methodologies are presented. The gaps in mlearning research summarised as being a lack of explicit underlying pedagogical theory, lack of transferable design frameworks, longitudinal studies, explicit support for student / lecturer support and poor integration with pedagogical; and general lack of awareness of ontological shifts required of learners and lecturers to move forward.

Chapter 4 covers the ‘sociocultural ecological frame for mobile learning’ contributed by N. Pachler, B. Backmir and J. Cook. Argues for the need to adopt a cultural ecology perspective for mlearning, Sociocultural structures include the inter-relationships and reciprocities between sociocultural structures, agency and cultural practices. ‘Appropriation’ of learning (new cultural products) needs to be couched in terms of individual’s habitus of learning as it is the individual who shapes knowledge out of their own sense of their world.

5th chapter written by H. Crompton offering a new approach or theory for mobile learning. Proposed theories supportive of mlearning precepts include activity theory, conversational theory and connections between multiple theories (e.g. behavorist, constructivist, situated, collaborative, informal / lifelong and learning / teaching support). Mlearning ‘special’ contributions include context, connectivity, time and personalisation. The specialised and unique characteristics of mlearning is able to contribute to require a rethink and a need to develop a new theory for mlearning.

Chapter 6 by A. Moura and A.A. Carvalho describes a framework for mlearning integration into educational contexts. Activity theory is used to ground the study leading to development of the framework. Mobile learning is informed by pedagogy and aspects of mediation and learning through inter-relations between activity, tools and students.

Chapter 7 on ‘learning and teaching as communicative actions’ is by S.J. Warren and J.S. Wakefield. Communicative actions to support teaching and learning are defined as normative, strategic, constative and dramaturgical. Each of the communicative actions inform instructional design principles and establishes the design directive. An interesting concept to follow up on.

Chapter 8 by C. Quinn discusses the ‘future of m-learning’. Mlearning is defined to afford content consumption, interaction to compute, ability to communicate with others and to capture context with combination of one or more of the 4 Cs. Suggested ways in which mlearning may move forward include capabilities that may allow the ‘making of thinking’ visible; ‘meta-learning’ supporting formal and informal aspects of learning between contexts; and meeting learners’ needs when (connected through calendars) and where (location awareness via GPS) required.

Chapter 9 is written by 6 authors with M. Milrad the first author. The chapter focuses on ‘seamless learning: an international perspective on next-generation technology-enhanced learning’. The 10 dimension of Wong and Looi (2011) are used to help provide anchoring points. The dimensions are: encompassing formal / informal learning; personalised / social learning; across time; across location; ubiquitous access to content for learning; encompassing physical / digital worlds; combining use of multiple devices; seamless switching between multiple learning tasks; knowledge synthesis; and encompassing multiple pedagogical and learning activity models. Projects from Taiwan, UK, Sweden, Singapore and Japan are provided as examples.
The next three chapters, report on the state of the play with regards to mlearning. Discussions are on ‘educational change in the palm of our children’s hands’; ‘future of mobile apps for learning’; and ‘mobile learning across developing and developed worlds’.

Part 2 – learning and learner support covered in 9 chapters
Chapter 13 by A.Kukulska-Hulme summarises the profile of mobile learners ‘who they are and who will they become?’ Targeted learners have included school children and their carers; higher education students; young adults not in education or work; the underserved in development contexts; workplace learners including employers, apprentices and professionals; communities, friends and families; and learners with special needs and abilities. Not represented as much are older people and retirees; engaged, enthusiastic and talented young adults;  families; support for disabilities; and under privileged in all countries, both developed and developing.

Chapter 15 by O. Ozan and M. Kesim covers ‘rethinking scaffolding in mobile connectivist learning environments’. Summarises Vygotsky’s scaffolding concept and Berge’s learner support strategies and synthesises with Siemen’s connectivism approach. Provides an example of how a mobile connectivist learning environment may occur through collection of ‘mobile learning management system’ with social community and various affordance of mlearning as summarised in chapter 8.

Part 3 – teaching in instructional design has 10 chapters
Chapter 22 by T. Cochrane on ‘mlearning as a catalyst for change’ uses case studies from performing arts, architecture and journalism to argue the case for the entry of a ‘disruptive’ form of technology to become the lever to change pedagogical practice.

Chapter 23 by A. J. Sams is on ‘flipped classroom meets mobile learning’ detailing the implementation of a sustainable flipped classroom learning model. The 4 flipped classroom models are also defined as pretraining, inquiry, flipped-mastery and project-based.

Chapter 24 by J. Gerstein provides the rational for ‘team and community building using mobile devices’. Increased usage of mobile devices along with characteristics of the millennial and igenerations along with the greater need for building of collaborative skills push the adoption of mobile devices. Examples of team building activities using mobile devices are detailed.

M. M. Grant and M.K. Barbour in chapter 25 provide case studies from the K-12 context on using mobile to teach and learn both in the classroom and when on-line.

 A.M. O’Loughlin, S.M. Barton and L. Ngo report on the use of mobile technology to enhance teaching in chapter 26. The framework is that learning occurs through processes of ‘test programming’, questioning, reflection on the programming and feedback. The need to ensure ‘human and social’ capital investment is a strong recommendation from the evaluation.

Chapter 27 on ‘teacher tools’ contributed by S. Price, P. Davies and W. Farr. The designing of customisable applications for mlearning activities is reported.

In chapter 28, S. Huber and M. Ebner report on ‘iPad human interface guidelines’ and why the interface with mobile devices is important towards ensuring learning is assisted.

X Ge, D. Huang, H. Zhang and B. B. Bowers report on chapter 29 the ‘three dimensions design for mobile learning’ to include pedagogy, design and technology considerations using a case study based on learning through simulations for nurses.

S.A. Nikou and A.A. Economides summarise the current ‘mobile assessment’ landscape in Chapter 30. A range of approaches in deploying mobile learning to assessments are discussed. Included are classroom response systems, self / peer assessments, collaborative assessments, computerised adaptive tests, dynamic assessments, context-aware assessments, location aware assessments and mobile game based learning (mGBL).

Chapter 31 by I. de Waard explores the concept of mobile MOOCs and the design aspects required to work mMOOC in the cloud.

Part 4 – 7 chapters on policies, administration and management. Issues covered include: institutional move to mobile platforms (chapter 32 by G. Baroudi & N. Marksbury); Framework for implementation of mobile technology (33 with R.M Seilhamer, B. Chen and A.M. Sugar); BYoD case study by J. LaMaster and J.D. Ferries-Rowe; holistic framework for ethical mlearning by L.E. Dyson, T. Andrews, R. Smith & R. Wallace; copyright and fare use by P. Aufderheide; accessibility issues with J.B. Roberts; and role of academic libraries with R. Wexelbaum and P. Miltenoff.

Part 5 has 15 chapters providing various cases and perspectives. Of note are:
Chapter 41 by S. Stoerger on ‘becoming a digital nomad’. Chapter 42 with R. Brandt and R. Rice on ‘mobile medicine praxis’. Closer to home, chapter 44 by J. A. Willems with ‘mlearning during emergencies, disasters and catastrophes. Chapter 45 with H.G. Tuttle on ‘improving students’ modern language speaking skills through mobile learning.

Overall, the most relevant chapters are in Sections 1 and 3. Specific case studies, especially those involving the customised production of mobile apps, become dated very quickly in the fast changing mobile technology world. We learn from every project deploying mlearning to a range of diverse and often challenging contexts. Mlearning is still to meet its potential especially in helping to bring affordances to learning to remote, deprived and transient communities most in need of access to education. This book is an excellent resource for any educator embarking on the mlearning journey as it reports triumphs and challenges, modelling the complex political and social area mlearning occurs in.

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