What are Mobiles?

Mobiles as a category have proven more interesting and more capable with each passing year. The mobile market today has more than 4 billion subscribers, more than two-thirds of whom live in developing countries. Well over a billion new phones are produced each year, a flow of continuous enhancement and innovation that is unprecedented in modern times. The fastest-growing sales segment belongs to smart phones — which means that a massive and increasing number of people all over the world now own and use a computer that fits in their hand and is able to connect to the network wirelessly from virtually anywhere. Tens of thousands of applications designed to support a wide range of tasks on virtually any smart-phone operating system are readily available, with more entering the market all the time. These mobile computing tools have become accepted aids in daily life, giving us on-the-go access to a wide range of tools for business, video/audio capture and basic editing, sensing and measurement, geolocation, social networking, personal productivity, references, just-in-time learning — indeed, virtually anything that can be done on a desktop — and arguably more.

In developed countries, it is quite common for young people to carry their own mobile devices. In the upper grades, it is not at all unusual, indeed commonplace, to find schools in which every student carries a mobile, even if they are not allowed to use them during class.

The previous sentence does not take into account that most children in primary grades (K-7) have a Nintendo DS, iPod Touch or similar in their pockets, and that many young people in secondary schools now have iPhones. There is a move, in some sectors in K-12 education, to promote the use in the classroom of whatever handheld mobile device students have at home, rather than provide sets for the whole class. This will become clear in the near future in policy directions. In the context of tertiary education, this means the slower tertiary institutions are to adapt, the greater the digital disconnect between them and their prospective students. - jo.murray jo.murray Aug 27, 2010- shirley.reushle shirley.reushle Aug 28, 2010 The unprecedented evolution of these devices continues to generate great interest, and their increasing capabilities make them more useful with each new generation of devices. The ability to run third-party applications represents a fundamental change in the way we regard mobiles and opens the door to a myriad of uses for education, entertainment, productivity, and social interaction. NOTE: Our use of the term mobile device in the description above includes all of the ones mentioned by Jo. - Larry Larry Sep 17, 2010

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • In K-12 sector, mobiles are being taken up rapidly particularly in primary schools (K-7). The iPod Touch is a cost-effective tool for a 1:1 strategy in K-10 and fits well within the multi-disciplinary approach to curriculum in most states and territories. This is evidenced by the number of professional learning programs being run in jurisdictions on using the iPod Touch, and on the social networking sites devoted to such in the K-12 area. A recent teacher-led conference, Slide to Learn (http://slidetolearn.ning.com/) was attended by teachers from all sectors, government, independent and catholic schools, from all states and territories, including Singapore.
    K-12 is also trialling iPads in most states as this article reports on Victoria. http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/newsroom/10578.html
    Sites such as Classroom 2.0 has a range of discussion groups on iPod Touch and iPad. Twitter sites for mobile learning in Australian schools- #slide2learn, #edapps, #edtech, #mlearning.
    iTunes apps, in particular, are being utilised to support student inquiry, research, skills practice (formal learning) and are appearing in early childhood and lower primary (K-7) as well as in the secondary sector (7-12).
    Four K-12 mobile learning research projects are featured in the following chapter of a book to be released August 2010:
    Murray, C. (2010) 'Imagine Learning in your Pocket', in Mobile Technologies and Handheld Devices for Ubiquitous Learning: Research and Pedagogy (ed Wan Ng).http://www.tower.com/mobile-technologies-handheld-devices-for-ubiquitous-learning-research-wan-ng-hardcover/wapi/115347110- jo.murray jo.murray Aug 27, 2010
  • Above all true. BTW, follow the Vic pilot on http://www.vicipadtrial.org - stephen.atherton stephen.atherton Aug 31, 2010
  • We are losing contact with our undergraduates ... lecture attendance can be poor, they're not reading their emails, print outs are discarded etc. We need to change the way that we communicate with them and ubiquitous mobile technology may be the way to do it. The trick will be to get them to allow us to use the devices as part of their program. - lydia.kavanagh lydia.kavanagh Aug 30, 2010
  • I am seeing a pile of folks look at actually handing iPads to students at the university cost. Hopefully before the report is done I'll hear if one Science Faculty at an Australian university has approved funding for 1,000 iPads to hand to students at the beginning of 2011. Also about 4 MBA programmes in Australia looking at iPad use. - stephen.atherton stephen.atherton Aug 31, 2010
  • - mark.brown mark.brown Aug 24, 2010 There is an important distinction between formal and informal learning. In many respects, learners have always been mobile and arguably mobile technologies are more likely to find a niche in supporting informal as opposed to formal learning. These technologies still do not mesh well with the traditional model of teaching and it's unlikely this will fundamentally change due to the growth of mobiles. What will change is the way learners can access information and interact with others for informal and non formal learning purposes. It could be that the continued growth of mobiles amplifies the disconnect between formal institutional learning and the more common informal ways of learning.
  • A good example of use of mobile phones in vocational education is at http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/tertiary_education/76970/3 - the second case study. Mobile phones are used in three ways - to communicate with the tutor while out on workbased learning settings, formative evaluation using texted multichoice questions and collection of evidence for summative evaluation. Unexpected benefits of the m-learning approach include apprentices taking greater ownership of their learning, becoming more assessment smart i.e. determining the best work evidence to collect and present rather than focusing on getting the employer to sign them off. The apprentices are also giving more thought as to what they are actually being taught in the workplace. - terry.neal terry.neal Aug 28, 2010
  • NZ doing a good deal of work. Peter Mellow, on this panel, has done some great trials at AUT. WinTec in Hamilton working on good vocational content. - stephen.atherton stephen.atherton Aug 31, 2010
  • Also a lot said above about student engagement. Whatever happens politically in Australia, we will still probably address some of last years' Bradley Report focus areas. One did revolve around engagement and student retention. We spoke of them last year, but good old Abilene Christian University have followed up with some good mLearning reports (y'all). George Saltsman, Bill Rankin and colleagues are doing some good evidence based work. http://issuu.com/abilenechristian/docs/acumobilelearningreport2009 A good write up of a squillion U.S. schools http://www.macworld.com/article/153672/2010/08/ipaded.html?lsrc=top_1 - stephen.atherton stephen.atherton Aug 31, 2010
  • In higher education I think that mobiles offer a lot of potential for saving time, for doing things in more convenient ways and for learning. Since a mobile is an incredibly portable & lightweight device that is easy to access anywhere and anytime, I think we need to think about the things that take our time away from research, teaching, learning and related activities that could easily be done/ solved/ accessed via a mobile phone - rather than emailing, talking, walking, checking, searching etc. In other words we need to look at the workflows of students and staff and think about the types of applications that might help us operate in ways that free us up for the important stuff. - caroline.steel caroline.steel Sep 1, 2010
  • Context-aware learning can make learning more authentic and meaningful as well as mobile and flexible - caroline.steel caroline.steel Sep 1, 2010
  • Backup and management of data in some centralised (possibly cloud) position, in the way that music at least can easily be thrown into iTunes or similar. - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010
  • The convergence of devices, e.g. ebook readers (very important), annotation tools, mobile composition tools such as Office squared on iPhone/iPad which lets you edit Google Docs documents easily, etc. - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010
  • Mechanisms need to be put in place to allow all students equal access to appropriate device(s) - for example - the government allowing students to offset the cost as part of their HECS debt. Adoption/recognition of this technology is not negotiable in the near future. - philip.poronnik philip.poronnik Sep 2, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Voice recognition seems to becoming more of an expected feature set on mobile platforms. One aspect is just making them easier to use, but there seem to be some implications of more sophisticated interactions with mobiles via voice. A recent Fast Company article suggests the Android platform currently has a lead on Apple in this area (also a factor of how the two platforms are on different forms of releasing new features) http://www.fastcompany.com/1681011/android-leapfrogs-iphone-4-with-voice-commands - alan alan Aug 23, 2010
  • - mark.brown mark.brown Aug 24, 2010 The disconnect between use of mobiles for informal learning and the dominant delivery metaphor of formal learning in higher education. As Martin Bean comments, institutional learning remains like sitting in an aircraft where you have to turn off all your modern technologies and put your trust is someone you don't know. The deeper question is whether the growth of mobiles will reinforce traditional pedagogies and assessment such as multi-choice testing by smart phone or truly transform the learning experience. The most likely path is the former based on Cuban's technology expectation cycle.
  • the potential of mobiles to collect evidence for assessment and therefore change the ways we assess learning, especially for vocational education. - terry.neal terry.neal Aug 28, 2010
  • Funding perhaps and also standardisation - what methods work for what device and in what context? - lydia.kavanagh lydia.kavanagh Aug 30, 2010
  • Truly effective use of mobile devices within the grounds of institutions is dependent on adequate infrastructure and really good wireless access in all physical locations from lecture theatres to libraries to study centres to coffee shops. It's not there at present - robyn.jay robyn.jay Aug 30, 2010
  • Agree above - one of Abilene's take homes - storage and networking infrastructure must be rock solid - stephen.atherton stephen.atherton Aug 31, 2010
  • Access to adequate wireless networks and economical data plans influence user behaviours - this needs to be solved on-campus, nationally and internationally (international roaming is expensive!)
  • Luckily we may have the NBN - filtered or not ! The use of mobiles to allow interactive lectures and the software/hardware options. - philip.poronnik philip.poronnik Sep 2, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Research is already out there in K-12 about the impact of mobile devices on engagement, desire to come to school, class participation, increase in boys writing, etc. Mobile devices are leading to more independent learning, student-led inquiry and therefore a shift in pedagogy to a more personalised approach to student learning.
    This is evident in the many student learning examples available:
    Innovation Showcase
    1:1 Showcase http://epotential.education.vic.gov.au/showcase/index.php?showcase_id=62
    iPads for Learning
    Victorian school examples

    This is reflected also in education policy direction in Australian states and territories.
    Federal and Victorian DEECD policy directions
    http://www.education.vic.gov.au/researchinnovation/technology/picture/default.htm- jo.murray jo.murray Aug 27, 2010
  • - mark.brown mark.brown Aug 24, 2010 The technology will have an impact for better and worse, as history teaches us. For example, mobiles may reinforce a content delivery metaphor of education (pump, pump, dump) if disconnected from more enlightened views of pedagogy. Also we need to give more attention to the unexpected consequences of the technology as these often have the greatest impact. We should not overlook potential health concerns in the future as the science catches up and what this might mean for people and educational institutions.
  • Engagement! I would love for this technology to connect the students with content and learning. I would hope that students would use these devices to maintain a 'learning portfolio' - synthesising the content we deliver and moving away from the compartmentalisation that is inherent in the way that we teach. - lydia.kavanagh lydia.kavanagh Aug 30, 2010
  • As more and more students struggle to attend on-campus due to other work and life committments (and interests) we need to offer them ways of completing their higher education with the flexibility to learn when and where they can. This might include bite-sized chunks of learning, learning delivered in-context (context-aware), better use of the push and pull capabilities (for higher ed), and of higher end rich media content (once we get the infrastructure right).
  • Potential for just-in-time learning on-the-go with access to sophisticated data, location-based services, learning communities, digital artefacts with embedded information or learning propositions etc etc - caroline.steel caroline.steel Sep 1, 2010
  • Allowing much better feedback to the academics on student engagement/progress. Clickers on steriods - group learning in larger lecture classes etc. - philip.poronnik philip.poronnik Sep 2, 2010

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.- mark.brown mark.brown Aug 24, 2010 http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120155

They are all over Australia in every sector. This map shows where people are from and they’re all doing something either with iPod Touch or iPad and some with netbooks or laptops.


- jo.murray jo.murray Aug 27, 2010