Posts Tagged ‘mobile learning’

Here are some recent articles and posts I have read on digital realities of society and the classroom. While these articles may or may not deal specifically with mobile learning, they do deal with social conditions in today’s world and today’s classroom.

1) Canadian Children Can Play Computer Games Before They Can Write Their Names: Study – this article from the Vancouver Sun looks at screen time for pre-school children

2) Should We Let Our Student Multitask? – this post argues that in our day and age, more than ever, we need to be working to sharpen children’s ability to focus. Multitasking is seen as a distraction.

3) Parents unaware of dangers faced by children on smartphones – A news article of British families discusses how many children access inappropriate information on the internet due to insufficient monitoring from parents.

4) Use of iPads in Charleston County schools show mixed, mostly positive results – Key quote in this article:

“You have to give something more than a year before you say it does or doesn’t work…”

5) 10 Mind-Blowing Mobile Learning Statistics Infographic – While I’m not a fan of hyperbole, such as the term “mind-blowing”, this inforgraphic does have some good information on people’s opinions and perceptions regarding the learning potential of mobile devices.


Throughout this blog, we have always looked at the application of mobile devices Iphone & Pencilin learning. I, for one, have always had the belief that mobile devices can be used to help student achieve in their learning because of the flexibility and access to content and collaboration tools that mobile devices allow. I have always discussed the flexibility of digital devices as it related to both the consumption and production of content by both teachers and students. Never had I, until now, considered the flexibility of using mobile devices within various learning models beyond discussions of applications in both online and face-to-face learning environments. In the post, we will consider the use of mobile devices within the Flipped Classroom method.

As I myself am currently learning about and thinking about the concept of the Flipped Classroom, it would be prudent to look elsewhere for a more definitive definition of the Flipped Classroom.  This link will take you to an infographic on the subject and this link will take you to a more detailed description.  For the purposes of this blog post, a simple description will do so simply put, a flipped classroom is a classroom where the instructional time and student activity time are reversed. In a typical classroom delivery model, the teacher delivers a lesson or instruction together with the students in their class and provides activities for students to practice their new skills after the lesson and/or for homework. In the Flipped Classroom model, the sequence is flipped. Teachers record their lesson or lecture and post their recording online for students to access for homework. As the student works through a video in their own time and in their own space, they can pause to think about what the teacher discussed, to take notes, or can replay a section they did not understand. Also, as the instruction is recorded, students can go back anytime and replay video if they are I need of review. Then, class time is dedicated for students to practice their newly acquired skills with classmates and in the presence of their teacher who can observe their understanding or be available to answer questions or address difficulties. The idea here is to free the teacher to spend more time working directly with students.

In essence, the Flipped Classroom is a model inspired by, and made possible by, technology.  It is one where technology helps to facilitate the instruction in order to free up time for student interaction with other students and with their teacher during the limited time they are together in their classroom. It appears to me that this model attempts to combine the best that elearning and face-to-face learning have to offer. In today’s world of ubiquitous access to the Internet, mobile devices can play an important role as educators experiment with this new model of lesson delivery. The strength of mobile devices is in it’s ability to offer users flexibility in access to content and in the Flipped Classroom model, mobile devices can provide students with access to both instructional content and to their teacher’s recorded lesson from wherever their are (assuming access to the Internet via a cellular data plan – or otherwise, through any available WiFi access point). Be it a video recording or audio recording, students can use their mobile devices effectively to access instructional content in a Flipped Classroom setting. Students are not tied to the physical restraints of the classroom or time constraints of the school day and can use their mobile devices to connect with friends to discuss the material and gain a better understanding of the material before engaging in the practice activities in class the next day.

As a result, as educators continue to experiment with new and interesting ways to leverage technology to help their student learn, mobile devices continue to offer an effective platform for teachers and students allowing easy access to content, or in this case, access to lessons, that is available anytime and from anywhere.

In incorporating mobile learning into everyday teaching and learning, one first must think of a workable model to frame the discussion and the implementation.  Here are four resources that provide models and/or ideas for models of mobile learning.

1) Models of Mobile Learning – Mobl21: A Web model vs App model vs. Cellular model discussion

2) 7 Learning Models of Mobile Learning – Mobl21: a look at 7 different ways mobile devices can be incorporated into everyday teaching and learning

3) A Proposed Theoretical Model for M-Learning Adoption in Developing Countries – An 11 page article for the University of South Africa.  The title says it all.

4) Towards a Theory of Mobile Learning – A nine page paper (PDF) from the University of Birmingham looking at the design of mobile learning systems.

appsThis is my second look at the debate between native apps vs web apps. When I wrote on this topic before (that post can be found here), i focused on presenting both side of the debate. I’ve started to think about this debate again after recently listening to the Search Engine Podcast episode “Tim Berners Less: The Search Engine Interview“. While the browser is king on computers, when it comes to mobile devices, it’s still not clear which type of access to the internet will dominate.

When the topic came up in the interview, Tim Berners-Lee was clearly in favour of web apps. He argued that they are much more open, accessible and because of hyperlinks, much more connected than native apps which tend to be propriety and closed. I also got the impression from the interview that Lee believed that creating content and accessing that content anywhere from any device through a web browser was much more empowering as individuals can continue to be both content creators and content consumers while native apps, created by developers for sale, are really more geared toward content consumption.

I myself tend to use native apps more often on my mobile devices. I find that native apps continue to be better formatted for my screen and when I do want to consume content, it much simpler to access and view through a native app. With regards to content creation, native apps are beginning to feature better content creation tools as developers are catching up in creating native apps that are contain greater functionality. This post, for example, has been written using the WordPress iOS app and I notice that more and more creation tools are being added with every new update of this app.

That having been said, when it comes to the organic nature of the Internet experience through a web browser, native apps do feel clunky and closed. One just can’t flip from page to page, from one varied piece of content to another in the same fluid, serendipitous way on a native app that one can on a web app. Finding and adding the links on this post, for example, is too painful an experience on the native app that I preferred to flip back to the web browser on my computer to add them.

I guess the biggest challenge for web apps to to offer the same experience on a mobile device as they do trough a web browser on a computer. The biggest challenge for native apps could be to add more of an organic feel and make browsing through various forms of information more fluid and open.

Both native apps and web apps are improving all the time. Currently, my choice of apps is dependant on rhe device I use as I prefer using native apps on my mobile devices and web apps on my computer – I tend to go to the better experience on each device. What are your thoughts and preferences?

Here are 10 of the more recent articles and blog posts that I have read concerning mobile learning. Links to the other 4 lists can be found at the bottom of this blog post.

1) 10 Reasons to Ban Pens and Pencils in the Class – A blog post that turns the criticisms applied to mobile devices on their heads by applying them to the ageless tools of the traditional classroom – Pens and Pencils

2) How Young is Too Young? Mobile Technologies and Young Children – An article on the use of mobile technologies by very young children.  You may also want to read my blog post titled “iPods in Education Part 13: Uses in Kindergarten” dated December 2009

3) Important Terms in Mobile Learning – Every new idea comes with it’s set of terms and subset of ideas.  This list provides definitions to many important terms used in relation to mobile learning.  A good list for those new to the concept of mobile learning

4) 7 Things You Should Know About iPad Apps for Learning – Mobile learning is about using mobile devices to enhance learning experiences for learners.  This article by Educase discusses 7 ideas around the newest device, the iPad tablet.

5) 32 Interesting Ways to Use Mobile Phones in the Classroom – A Google Docs presentation with 32 (and growing) ideas on implementing the use of mobile devices for teaching and learning

6) Mobile Learning Basics – An article from Mobl21; a good guide for beginners

7) Implementation Steps in Mobile Learning – Another article from Mobl21; this guide helps educators move from theory to reality when it comes to using mobile devices to help students learn

8) Cellphone Data Usage – An Infographic

9) How the World is Using Cellphone – Another Infographic

10) Mobile Learning Tag on Delicious – Follow the mobilelearning tag in delicious to see what people are finding and bookmarking on the Internet about mobile learning.  A rich source for me in keeping up-to-date on mobile learning trends

Mobile Learning: A Brief Reading List

Mobile Learning: Another Brief Reading List

Mobile Learning: A 3rd Reading List

Mobile Learning: A 4th Reading List

As a followup to my previous post titled “Revisiting the Notion of Audiobooks and Public Libraries“, the image below is linked to a guided tour of the Overdrive. Overdrive is an app that many public libraries in North America use to provide patrons with access to audiobooks on their mobile devices. I’ve been using the Overdrive iPhone app for several weeks now and have found that by listening to books, I am able to get through books that I would otherwise not get through if I was reading them (mainly due to time restraints). While I was listening to audiobooks before, I find that now I’m going through more material as previously, I was purchasing the audiobooks I was listening to where as now, I am borrowing them for free. The model is interesting too as it works on the same check-out principal used for physical books from the public library. All you need is a public library card and the Overdrive app for your device. The rest is free access to professionally published audiobooks for your listening and learning pleasure.

As an aside, although I am personally focusing only on the audiobook functionality of the app and the audiobook availability of public libraries, ebooks are also offered by public libraries through Overdrive.

This infographic links back to it’s original location on

I discovered this infographic from Louise Duncan’s blog found here: