PCF5:Appropriate Learning Technologies: Mobile Learning (1)

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Title of session

Mobile Learning

Session details

  • Date: Monday, July 14
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Room: Elvin Hall

Session papers

  • Mr. Md. Shafiqul Alam, Virtual Interactive participatory classroom using mobile technology at Bangladesh Open University, (563)
  • Ms. Madhavi Dharankar, Implication of mobile learning in distance education for operational activities, (624)
  • Mr. Dylan Busa, Developing games for use on mobile phones and using games for education (81)
  • Dr. Grace Muwanga, with John Traxler, and Tomas Power., High cost of internet connectivity in Africa: how do we achieve a mobile telephony success story. (289)
  • Mr. Henry Paul, Leveraging appropriate technologies in open and distance learning for young people to take advantage of educational opportunities: the National Open School of Trinidad and Tobago (NOSTT)

Key Issues that arose in the session

FORTHCOMING: Please note that there was no reporter assigned to this session (in time) so the chair will submit notes when time permits. In the meantime, if participants would like to add their recollections, please do so!! Thank you.

  • Key issue 1: Convenience. Learners want to use mobile phones for communication--it is often easier and cheaper for them to access compared to email. However, the convenience creates risks related to context, privacy, "spam", neglect for face-to-face contact, etc.
  • Key issue 2: Motivation. Distance learners also appreciate the interactivity of mobile phones and getting immediate response from their tutor is a motivator. Phones may also serve as a motivator to learn content implicitly, i.e., math skills through games.
  • Key issue 3: Choice. All universities face a dilemma of high-end vs. low-end technology choices. The value added of one type versus another must be proven. Appropriate "rules of engagement" must be created.
  • Key issue 4: Information and infrastructure. Besides just typical infrastructure concerns, we must consider the "info-structure" or the educational resources that are linked to the infrastructure, and the "info-culture", which are the related social structures.
  • Key issue 5: Commercialization. The different commercial structures (pre- vs. post-paid) can make a difference in the way learners access and use mobile learning.

Points for future action (Policy, recommendations, commitments etc.)

  • More research needed on the actual effects of mobile learning, and some of the risks listed above (Key issue 1).
  • Particularly in the area of mobile learning, non-standardization of devices and software is a problem for wide dissemination of content and applications, or using mobile phones for more than just voice communication.
  • We must "push the envelope" in mobile learning beyond just using voice and SMS. Given the current lack of standards, this is an opoprtunity to create something completely new, not just the standard shapes and sizes that we are used to in PCs. Perhaps this innovation will come from within Africa??