SAT: Study Apps Guide for Mobile Devices - a Multimedia Presentation (Denise McDonough)

Developing your Personal 'mobile' Learning Environment or m-PLE.

Studying online using a mobile device represents unique chal

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Denise McDonough
5 December 2017

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Denise McDonough
18:49 on 4 January 2018 (Edited 22:30 on 25 January 2018)

Today the smartphone combines mobile telephone services and powerful computer technology in one device. Similar devices have been around since the 1990s, such as PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and Blackberries, with address books, calendars and apps similar to those we use today. However, it wasn’t until 2007 and the release of the iPhone, along with recent availability of high speed data networks (3G and 4G) that, ‘learning-on-the-go’ became a reality (Soukup, 2015) (Kukulska-Hulme, 2012).   

We have unprecedented access to information today. As we live and work longer, the need for professional development by distance learning is also increasing. The Guardian newspaper reported, “…The Higher Education Academy reported the outcomes of eight flexible learning pathfinder projects, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England,” (Hoare, 2012). This assertion is supported by the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, who report that learners aged 18 to 90 pursue lifelong learning opportunities (Manton, 2017).  

 Free open education via platforms such as Open Learn and MOOCs, (Massive Open Online Courses) are making lifelong learning easy and accessible. In low income areas and developing countries, a mobile is often the only device learners have access to due to poor infrastructure, as well as cost. Ownership is set to rise exponentially (Katz, 2008) a claim that is further supported by Anshari et al., (2016) who state that by 2018 ownership is expected to rise to 1.4 billion globaly. 

 It is a myth that the Google Generation understands how to fully use technology (Rowlands et al., 2008). In 15 years of supporting students and academics, on the help desk at Oxford University, I have seen first-hand, that many users are not familiar with the complexities of using a mobile device for learning. Discussing my project with Senior Learning Technologist, Dr Jill Fresen, she stated,   "Denise's proposal to develop a study toolkit presentation of existing mobile apps, to support students who want to study 'on the move' addresses a real need experienced by modern, mobile students. Her project will integrate various reading, study and note-taking apps, making it simple and easy for students to use these apps without having to search for them. In fact, it will offer the beginnings of an integrated, mobile personal learning environment," (Fresen, 2018a). 

 It is clear from the literature that learners value this type of support and make use of it (Henderson et al., 2017). Smartphone apps that allow reading articles by listening, Text to Speech are one case in point. They enables learners to use time waiting for the bus or walking the dog to squeeze in some studying (Kukulska-Hulme, 2012). In addition, their expectations of using technology are higher as found by the UCL study on the Google Generation (Rowlands et al., 2008). The project was inspired by my own necessity to studying on my mobile phone while commuting. These considerations and my own personal experience as a distance learner as inspired the design and development of my study app study presentation guide.  The apps I have chosen are representative of the types of apps that can be useful for studying: for organising, reading and annotating, storing files safely and making notes for research (Henderson et al., 2017).   


Anshari, M., Alas, Y., Hardaker, G., Jaidin, J. H., Smith, M. and Ahad, A. D. (2016) ‘Smartphone habit and behavior in Brunei: Personalization, gender, and generation gap’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 64, pp. 719–727 [Online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.07.063 (Accessed 13 January 2018). 

Fresen, J. (2018a) ‘Mobile Study Toolkit’, Interview, January 2018.

Henderson, M., Selwyn, N. and Aston, R. (2017) ‘What works and why? Student perceptions of “useful” digital technology in university teaching and learning’, Studies in Higher Education, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 1567–1579 [Online]. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2015.1007946 (Accessed 9 January 2018).

Hoare, S. (2012) ‘Distance learning degrees are on the increase’, The Guardian, 2nd July [Online]. Available at (Accessed 13 January 2018).

Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2012) ‘Language Learning Defined by Time and Place: A Framework for Next Generation Designs’, in Innovation and Leadership in English Language Teaching, Bingley, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6, pp. 3–20 [Online]. DOI: 10.1108/S2041-272X(2012)0000006004 (Accessed 10 December 2017).

Manton, M. (2017) ‘University Oxford Continuing Education Interview’.

Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M., Gunter, B., Withey, R., Jamali, H. R., Dobrowolski, T. and Tenopir, C. (2008) ‘The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future’, Aslib Proceedings, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 290–310 [Online]. DOI: 10.1108/00012530810887953 (Accessed 28 December 2017).

Soukup, P. A. (2015) ‘Smartphones’, Communication Research Trends [Online]. Available at (Accessed 29 December 2017).

Denise McDonough
22:29 on 25 January 2018


When finished I will add a PDF to Slideshare

Denise McDonough
12:12 on 9 February 2018 (Edited 12:17 on 9 February 2018)

Embedded Content

Mobile Study Presentation Conference Poster - Sway

Mobile Study Presentation Conference Poster - Sway

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added by Denise McDonough

Mobile Study Apps Guide Conference Presentation Slides

Mobile Study Apps Guide Conference Presentation Slides

added by Denise McDonough