A recent article on the trials of using mobile learning technologies by Cochrane and Bateman in a New Zealand postsecondary institute provides a menu for educational use. While the study focuses on using m-learning applications in design programs (architectural, landscaping) and the use of imagery and videos, it also provides ideas for more traditional and static programs such as business, English, etc.
The article offers ideas for using technology to add mobility, social networking and visuals to a number of disciplines, regardless if smart phones, laptops, or other mobile device are used. Learning can take place anywhere and at any time. More important, it allows students to create when ready, in the moment, and with less borders. Creativity requires freedom and support (Herbert Read, 1963).
For instance, the following could be used to connect students whether f2f or online:
- text messaging announcements and current events (Twitter)
- capturing images or videos for class projects (smart/cell phones)
- blogging or video blogging (vlogging) (WordPress)
- emailing message and resources (lms/institutional email, gmail)
- data sharing (delicious bookmark tagging)
- resources sharing (wiki list)
- voice messages and presentations (smart/cell phones)
- sharing with collective (linking blogs, slide share, wiki, flickr images, etc. in learning management system)
The Web2.0 tools that are used outside the classroom and online learning management system (LMS) can support the learning and building of a personal learning environments. Bringing the various tools and productions/creations (via uploads or external links) created outside the LMS back into it creates a central repository and meeting place.
It won’t be long before the use of smart phones in learning situations become the norm. Many of the tools mentioned above have applications that work on smart phones. However, as a cautionary note the article suggests learning institutions take steps. First, they suggest to start working with these newer technologies, provide training and support for faculty, and take steps to integrate them into classroom (whether physical or virtual). As well, though younger generations are quite adept to emerging technologies, they need guidance on using them in constructive ways. Taking steps on using these tools with students is necessary as well.
The potential for creative, interactive and innovative types of learning activities and environments is encouraging, and in my experience, refreshing for students. There is a little something for every topic and discipline, thus creating a learning technology menu. Think outside the box, think creatively. Most important, have fun with learning.