I began to consider my growth and deeper understanding of teaching and learning with mobile devices in my post from Week 8. As previously mentioned, my perception has definitely changed from mobiles as “fun” tools to more of a systematic approach. There are things to consider beyond the aesthetics of a cool app or game, like global access issues, success and failures of using mobiles formally and informally, identity, privacy, and universal design. In addition, over the past couple of weeks, I have also begun to consider other aspects like parental support, authenticity, and collaboration. Insight from authors Kearney et al, also provided three basic conditions required for meaningful m-learning in their “Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective” article. Their research proved that m-learning must include authenticity, collaboration, and personalization. For successful mobile implementation, I would also add that learning must also include organization and opportunities for home-to-school connections as well (Kearney, 2012).
Systematic and organized lessons should be a basic starting point for all mobile instruction design. As authors Parsons et al of “A Design Requirements Framework for Mobile Learning Environments” say that they believe that the most basic component is an “organized delivery of the contents”. This information, they believe, should enhance the content by “making sense of the material”. Additionally, they say goal setting and clearly defined objectives help learners engage and feel motivated, thus causing positive learning outcomes. Personally, I have experienced both situations while a teacher and learner: thoroughly organized material and/or vague, confusing objectives. Personal experience has shown me that there are less distractions and elementary students do the best when they know what is expected of them (Parsons et al, 2007).
In addition to organization, mobile learning must also be personalized and authentic. As authors of “The Frame Work Design Of Mobile Learning Management Systems” state, “Active learning involves learners in learning activities that are authentic to the work and social contexts in which the skills or knowledge are normally embedded with the real world tasks and situations.” Students will gain content knowledge, but will also gain vital problem solving skills while using mobile devices (Hembala, 2012). These skills are vital for students to become proficient in their real-world problem solving abilities. As Bransford says, most of students learning will occur outside the confines of their classroom and school environment. In his “Learning theories and education: Toward a decade of synergy” journal article, Bransford said, “human life span, the portion of time spent outside of school, and therefore a potential source of informal learning, would be over 90 percent”. These real-life, informal learning experiences will certainly also demand that students have proficient collaboration skills (Bransford, 2006).
Working together to come to a common consensus can spark personal connections and can create a “community of learners”. Gee refers to this term in his “Identity as an analytic lens for research in education” piece. He says that successful classrooms “stress collaborative (group, team) learning, distributed knowledge (i.e., knowledge that is not in any one person’s head, but distributed across the group, its practices, and the tools and technologies it uses).” Teaching students the simple meaning of the old quote, “two heads are better than one”, can motivate group work, instead of a competition of individuals. This cohesive approach can allow students to see that working together to solve a problem isn’t always about sharing answers, but is more about discovering new ways of thinking though communication (Gee, 2000).
These informal learning opportunities also require skills that can be taught by teachers, but must also be supported by parents as well. Barron’s “Parents as Learning partners in the development of technological fluency” journal article says that many parents don’t or won’t try to understand that their child doesn’t have to be just “hanging out” online. This “messing around” can actually be considered self-directed learning. Barron’s research showed that if parents attempt to undertake a few informal teaching roles, their child’s social and academic development will increase. When young students leave the confines of a classroom – without parental support, they cannot fully utilize their skills. Again, working together cohesively can break barriers of traditional learning (Barron, 2009).
Instead of giving exact solutions and remedies for mobile learning implementation, the articles and content from this semester gave insight of how to make mobile learning work for each unique learning environment. Although such quantities of information and research can seem overwhelming, I have found it essential to look at the bigger picture. Careful consideration, planning and design can change learning with mobiles from a passive to a very active process.
- Barron, B., Kennedy Martin, C., Takeuchi, L., & Fithian, R. (2009). Parents as Learning Partners in the Development of Technological Fluency [Electronic version]. The International Journal of Learning and Media, 1(2), 55-77. doi:10.1162/ijlm.2009.0021
- Gee, J. P. (2000, January). Identity as an analytic lens for research in education [Electronic version]. Review of Research in Education, 25(1), 99-125. doi:10.3102/0091732X025001099
- Hemabala, J., & Suresh, E. (2012, November). The frame work design of mobile learning management system [Electronic version]. International Journal of Computer and Information Technology, 1(2), 179-184.
- Kearney, M., Schuck, S., Burden, K., & Aubusson, P. (2012). Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective [Electronic version]. Research in Learning Technology, 20, 1-17. doi:10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14406
- Parsons, D., Ryu, H., & Cranshaw, M. (2007). A Design Requirements Framework for Mobile Learning Environments [Electronic version]. Journal of Computers, 2(4), 1-8. doi:10.4304/jcp.2.4.1-8
- Zhang, B., & Looi, C. (2011). Developing a sustainable education innovation for seamless learning [Electronic version]. Science Direct, 15, 2148-2154. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.069