Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning

23 11 2010

The term mobile learning refers to the use of handheld devices such as ipad, kinndle, cellphone in classroom. School administrators use SMS technology to inform parents. Teachers use cell phones’ voice mail to inform students for the homeworks. Students use cellphones as dictionary. Children like playing games on their cellphones. Everybody use Iphone for everything.

Mobile devices and technologies are very common in all the societies and rapidly influencing how people communicate. These changes also affect how people learn and how can be learning delivered. Information is open to everybody and teachers’ roles are changed. 21st century teacher should  not be the provider of the knowledge, instead should assist students to find the reliable and high quality resources. In terms of mobile learning, teachers’ role should be a consultant for students to use portable devices more effectively and efficiently. With these all portable devices, people reach the information from anywhere. You don’t need to be in the class to learn.

Despite all these positive changes, mobile learning also have some challenges. First, there is still no clear definition of mobile learning because mobile learning is personal and concepts are not well defined. Since concepts are not defined, evaluation off mobile learning is problematic. Second, mobile devices are everywhere and anywhere, and transforming how people communicate and learn very fast. The interaction between the people and technology are more active than ever. Therefore, the role of education is challenging. We see from all these examples that mobile learning is still immature.

For the future, mobile learning definitely needs standardization. All companies develop their applications and technology with their own specific standards, and one application is not working for others. Next, we should bridge the online learning and mobile learning terms, and have mobile learning courses. While having mobile learning courses, we should also consider the research on the pedagogy of mobile learning. Students and teachers should be trained to use these high-tech devices. And at last, we should define the evaluation strategies.

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