Learn about...mobile learning

Open University staff development guide

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Galley
20 January 2010

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The Learn About Mobile stand will be manned by:

  • Agnes Kukulska-Hulme from the Institute of Educational Technology who brings a wealth of experience in formal and informal learning applications of mobile technology
  • Gill Clough also from the Institute of Educational Technology who has researched informal uses of mobile technology, with a focus on location awareness.
  • Keren Mills from the OU Library and doyenne of the Digilab who has recently worked with Cambridge University in exploring how mobile technology can provide effective access to library resources.
  • Rhodri Thomas from the Strategy Office in the Learning Innovation Unit  who is involved in innovative learning, mobile technologies, collaboration, reporting/VLE stats

Come and have a chat with us. Together we hope to be able to answer your questions about the role of mobile technology in teaching and learning from a variety of perspectives - formal and informal learning, ubiquitous technologies, novel applications of location awareness. Bring your mobiles along with you and we'll try to introduce you to some new and innovative mobile activities. Here are a few to think about.

Location: Open streemaps, iSpot, Google mashups with GPS photos or tracks, QR codes, Augmented realities

Learning: L120 audio eassessment, Motil, iKnow, Podcasts, iTunes U

Gill Clough
15:35 on 28 January 2010 (Edited 16:45 on 29 January 2010)

Juliette Culver
11:39 on 11 February 2010

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Agnes Kukulska-Hulme
10:10am 10 February 2010 (Edited 10:12am 10 February 2010)


Mobile learners - who are they? It used to be those who were roped in to participate in research, often using complicated technology. Now it could be anyone. Mobile learning seems to be particularly useful to the following groups of people:

  • Those who don’t have easy access to desktop computers (no access, or competing for access in the home or at work)
  • Mobile workers (e.g. business people who travel, health workers, taxi drivers…)
  • Commuters (e.g. that long daily train or bus journey to work)
  • Immigrants (who need to learn new skills or a new language quickly, while looking for work)
  • Disengaged young people (who have dropped out of education but might be attracted by a new way of learning)
  • Learners in transition (e.g. entering university, or returning to study after a break)
  • People pursuing hobbies and leisure activities (e.g. visiting museums, doing treasure hunts)
  • Parents who wait!! (e.g. sitting in the car while their children are doing after-school activities)

It's not an exhaustive list by any means, but it does show that mobile learning can help all sorts of people who might otherwise not enjoy learning or who would struggle to fit it into their lives. Feel free to mention other people who benefit from mobile learning. Could it be you?

Gill Clough
9:44am 11 February 2010


It was a very interesting fair. However one thing that struck me at the time was the number of people who came over and asked me if we had an iPhone app that would enable them to access the VLE from their phone. There is definitely one in the offing, but I wonder if we need to broadcast the wider potential of mobile technologies in supporting learning. Mobile learning is not limited to checking your TMA mark or reading messages.

Juliette Culver
10:09am 11 February 2010


I can understand a little where people might be coming from with that. When I was studying H809, it drove me crazy that I couldn't easily access the course materials from my phone. One of the times when I had lots of time to read them was on train journeys (where there wasn't always a signal for the whole journey) and having to print them out felt so unnecessary!

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme
10:15am 11 February 2010


I agree with you Gill. Access to the VLE from a mobile device is really important, but there is so much more that learners can do, e.g.

- Communicate with other learners and tutors, e.g. using Twitter on the phone, mobile blogging
- Participate in surveys and quizzes to give feedback or to test knowledge
- Collect ongoing observations, evidence or reflections on progress, and maybe share this with others
- Maintain a closer connection between sites of learning and practice through photos and recordings
- Create or access location-specific content
- Quickly share on-the-spot local knowledge, feeding into a bigger national or global representation

Some things can be done by learners themselves, but often it would be so much better if course teams and tutors would get involved and help design really interesting activities for learning, collaboration, assessment, revision.

Gill Clough
10:26am 11 February 2010


We have two things here:

  1. We need to be sensitive to the needs of our students and give them what they want to support their studies.
  2. We need to share our awareness of the wider educational potential with our students.

Several years ago I was at a meeting (GRETLE) at which the plans for moving to Moodle were presented. This was in the  early days - you may have been there too Agnes? One of the audience asked what the timescales were for supporting mobile access to Moodle and the answer, at that time, was that there were no plans to put development effort into supporting mobiles in the forseeable future because that was too far down the priority list.

That was then, when mobile devices were less powerful, and this is now. But how to we stay one step ahead of the game so that we have what students want and need, when the want and need it?

Angela Lilley
4:03pm 11 February 2010 (Edited 4:29pm 11 February 2010)


A friend of mine has an IPAD on order for the end of March in New York. Will anyone be looking at the potential to use this device in T&L?  It strikes me that if we did a deal with Apple we could provide our content partly as an E Reader and then a series of quizzes/activities etc. for our MMBA (Mobile MBA) of the future!

Juliette Culver
4:13pm 11 February 2010


Angela, there's actually a cloud specifically about using the iPad in learning and teaching - though more generally rather than just in the OU. Will be very interested to see what they are like when they are finally available in the UK.

 

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