by Wilfredo Rodriguez

mobile learning

Nowadays millions of people use different technologies for different reasons and purposes.  And this number keeps increasing every day worldwide.  Among these technologies are mobile devices, which are used by all age groups from toddlers to senior citizens.  They use mobile technology to communicate with their loved ones, friends, work, and for educational purposes as well.  In the educational field, mobile devices have gained usability because they are very portable and they have become very powerful.  Smart phones and tablets are capable of recording and playing audio, video, mass storage, connecting to the internet,  and instant messaging, just to mention some of their capabilities.  These characteristics make mobile devices almost perfect for eLearning.

“Mobile devices such as laptops, PDAs, and smart phones, tablets connected to wireless networks enable mobility and facilitate mobile learning.  Mobility allows teaching and learning to extend beyond the traditional classroom; in the case of distance learning, users of portable devices can break the barrier of the home computer. Within the classroom, portable computing and communication devices give

instructors and students increased flexibility and provide new and better opportunities for interaction.”

“Mobile technologies also support learning experiences that are collaborative, accessible, and integrated with the world beyond the traditional classroom settings.  The benefits, however, do not come without challenges.”

Benefits:

  • Great for people on the go.
  • Content is accessible anytime, anywhere.
  • It enhances interaction between and among students and instructors.
  • It is great for just-in-time training or review of content.
  • It can enhance student-centered learning.
  • It can appeal to tech-savvy students because of the media-rich environment.
  • It supports differentiation of student learning needs and personalized learning.7
  • It reduces cultural and communication barriers between faculty and students by using communication channels that students like.8
  • It Facilitates collaboration through synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Challenges:

  • It may enable student cheating.
  • It can give tech-savvy students an advantage over non-technical students.
  • It can create a feeling of isolation or of being out-of-the-loop for non-techies.
  • It may require media to be reformatted or it may only recognize specific formats.
  • It might render some content outdated because of rapid upgrades—here today, outdated tomorrow.
  • It could require an additional learning curve for non-technical students and faculty.
  • It may be used as a new high-tech package for the same old dull and boring content.
  • Mobile devices offer the venues for an eLearning environment that can be achieved from anywhere, anytime.

    Resources:

    http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/are-you-ready-mobile-learning

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