Tuesday, February 22, 2005

More on mlearning

I found a literature review on mobile technologies and learning put out by nesta future lab. There is a useful overview of existing theories of learning (behaviourist, constructivist, situated, collaborative etc) and a summary of mobile learning technologies that are currently available.

The report also provides case studies of recent examples of teaching and learning using mobile technologies that are matched with the various learning theories. The majority of the case studies describe work that has been undertaken using PDAs as the main mobile technology tool. There are not as many examples for the use of mobile phones. The report does conclude that there is a move towards combining the functions of mobile phones, PDAs, game consoles and cameras. This merging of capabilities is set to continue at a fast pace with true convergence of all of these devises in the next five to ten years.

None of the examples deal specifically with the completion of competency based learning outcomes or with portfolio development. However, the examples provide glimpses of the many possibilities the m-learning can bring into my teaching context. Some of these include:-

  • Providing ‘revision’ questions in the form of drill and feedback type questions. These could be used to revise underlying understanding of practical work based skills.
  • The opportunity to work collaboratively on projects with other students so that the social nature of learning is enhanced.
  • Use of the m-learning tool as a repository for information. Course notes, glossary of industry jargon, administrative information, templates for use in submitting reports etc.
  • Administrative functions including reminding students about when projects are due via SMS, providing students with updated records of learning, providing ready access to teaching staff for advice.
  • Web browser functions via WAP and access to course site where individual portfolio is archived.
  • Opportunity for apprentices to provide access to each others portfolio site for peer critique and feedback.

Individually, all the above scenarios are possible with present technology. Access to the various areas is not yet seamless but the possibilities for building up a ‘one-stop shop’ accessed by mobile is becoming attainable.

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