Variety of mobile learning options

I have been following the latest MOOC change11 topic on mobile learning, which intrigues me as a potential learning technology. It seems countries outside of North America are relying more on this technology for education, leaving us well behind. For instance, Africa is seeing an explosion of cell use: Did You Know – Mobile stats for Africa 2011  providing potential to deliver distance education to mass amounts of people.

Yesterday,  Zoraini Wati Abas spoke on a mobile learning project at Open University Malaysia (bless her heart – it was midnight for her). The project consisted of sending text messages (SMS) to students at the university taking blended courses. Below are the different ways SMS was used to motivate and connect students. This is a slide from Zoraini’s presentation at: http://change.mooc.ca/week02.htm

Other mobile learning projects are more involved (lots happening ‘down under’), such as using smart phones to collect data by taking pictures or recording short videos. Two projects outlining more involved uses of mobile phones are:

Ethical issues are arising for mobile learning which needs to be considered before implementing. Not unlike other communication technologies, smart phones can be used for the wrong reasons such as bullying, spam, etc. Australia is addressing this issue head on. For instance, UNISA in South Australia has rules on using SMS at their institution:
As well, recently federal ministries in Australia are implementing a ‘digital social contract’ to handle offensive behaviours in cyberspace (Thanks for the link, Tim Winklemans): http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2011/sep/18/au-digital-social-contract-online-behaviour/
I am excited about the potential of mobile learning to reach many willing students globally. I think this trend is going to develop more and more. Following those using this delivery technique outside of North American will be key.