Monday, January 16, 2017

Iphone 10 years old this month - has mlearning become established in education?

This NZ article, provides a historical overview of the evolution of the smart phone and its impact of the technological landscape. In ten years, we have seen phone companies come and go. However, the continuing influence of smart phones on the world has been and continues to be far reaching. The article, as with this other one from the BBC, describes the iphone as a key transformative technology for the last decade. The smart phone has afforded access to a powerful computer to over 2 billion people. As reported in another article, peopleare enamoured by smart phones and we are emotionally attached to them as the conduits to social media.

On the teaching and learning side of things, the advent of the smart phone must surely be one of the most important contributors to mobile / mlearning initiatives. With the smart phone, ready access to the internet via WiFi, the untethering of knowledge, content and the ‘sage on the stage’ approaches to teaching and learning accelerated. Tablets have added another dimension to the ways in which smart phone technology may be leveraged. 

Many of the ‘cutting edge’ applications discussed at mlearn in 2006 2010 are now common place. A recent NZ project, provides salient examples of the breathe and scope of mlearning in the NZ tertiary sector. However, the potentialities of mlearning are still largely untapped. In large educational institutions, two barriers have taken time and patience to surmount. The first is the security aspect around institutional IT systems, the second the provision of adequate and robust WiFi. BYOD is one way to move through the IT security challenge but BYOD use hinges on ease of access to WiFi. Blended learning and the integration of TEL via mlearning to support active learning through inquiry, project or problem-based learning becomes normal.

Learners having access to a wide range of resources now require skills to evaluate and collate material. To be able to bricolage, one has to know what, where and how to look for information and then to critically appraise the material and incorporate into informing how to solve an existing or new problem. Learning shifts from learning content to learning how to think. Teachers, especially ones assisting learners to learn a specific occupational, need to now be able to help learners learn how to ‘become and be’. Therefore, there is an important shift in pedagogical focus, from learning how and why to learning how to extend beyond the here and now. 

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