Mobile Technology in Learning sample essay

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Researchers are in a dilemma about whether mobile learning should be introduced in higher learning institutions as a form of educating students. Criticism of M-learning includes lack of proper knowledge in using mobile devices, lack of evidence that M-learning works and skepticism about M-learning. However various new articles about M-learning address these criticism and strongly support the use of M-learning in higher learning institutions they include, Mobile learning as an evolution of E-learning, Clarification of mobile learning, Clarification of mobile learning and Mobile learning in higher education as a new educational tool. A new form of learning should be adopted by teachers for use with their students.

Defining Mobile Education

Educational technology has generated new tools and approaches to learning in the classroom. One new concept that is relatively new in education is mobile learning. Mobile learning can be described as any learning that occurs when facilitated through a mobile device (Harrington et al., 2009). Examples of portable devices include mobile phones, i-Touch or i-Pads, mp3 players, tablets, or portable computers. There are different characteristics of mobile devices that should be stated in order to learn more about mobile learning. Mobile devices have become universal and pervasive in our society that it has made an impact on obtaining knowledge. For instance, mobile devices have begun the trend of learning by finding information at a specific time instead of obtaining information for long-term memory (Traxler, 2007). An example would be a fifth-grade student wanting to know who the second President of the United States was.

The fifth-grade student can use an i-Touch to find the answer by searching the internet. While the fifth-grade student may forget that John Adams was the second President of the United States, he can use the tool as a way to obtain the answer at any given time. Another characteristic of the mobile device is that it can alter the nature of work (Traxler, 2007). Instead of showing to an orientation for jury duty, people can now watch the orientation on any mobile device as long as it has internet. This saves the time of having to participate in an earlier orientation and makes the work easier for the person. Lastly, mobile devices can create new forms of knowledge as well as new ways of accessing it (Traxler, 2007). For example, instead of having to purchase a textbook for a college class, the student can download the eBook and use his eReader to read his book and study at any location.

Clarification of mobile learning

The research paper by El-Hussein, M. O. M. And Cronje, J. C. Seeks to clarify the meaning of mobile learning. The authors approach was to critically examine a selection of documents that relate to mobile learning. The authors argue that to comprehensively understand and define mobile learning their outset should be formed and its key components separated and arranged under three different concepts: A conceptualization of mobile learning, the first step of research involved exploring the wider context of mobile learning. Mobile learning in higher education, the second step involved identifying the technology, learner (who are nomadic and able to interpret learning materials) and learning material as well as mobile technology such as portable devices. The third concept involves examining the mobility and dynamism of the learning process and the flow of information.

The authors’ definition of mobile learning is any type of learning that takes place in learning environments and spaces that take into account the mobility of learners, learning and technology. Research should be done to examine the implications of these devices for the design of teaching and learning.

Mobile learning as an evolution of E-learning.

The research paper by Grane et al claims that mobile learning can be termed as an evolution of E-learning. Research has been done on both M-learning and E-learning looking at how they have evolved and a comparison and contrast on the two has been drawn. Learning has always had a mobile character in it, and hence the authors seek to establish a difference between what is termed as mobile learning today and what was regarded as mobile learning traditionally.

The aim of the research is to identify context and interaction as being essential to understand how mobile learning can be integrated to conventional education. The research involved introducing E-learning through mobile devices; this was achieved by giving an iPad to 97 students. The students were to use these mobile devices as part of a traditional E-learning environment.

To learn how the devices were used three approaches were used: Pre/Post-test questionnaire, before the course and after the course an online survey was used to collect data. A discussion forum, an interactive and dynamic forum was used as part of the study. The interview, an in-depth interview was carried out to obtain precise information of the student’s experiences using the mobile devices. The results indicate that most students rely heavily on E-learning. Mobile devices were characterized as a useful tool for searching for information, their main advantage being location is of no importance.

Evaluating Mobile Education

Following the widespread reception of mobile technologies in learning, it is paramount to evaluate mobile education to see if it does benefit teachers as well as students when it comes to learning. However, it is difficult to create a perfect evaluation because it depends on how we define a good evaluation. Some guidelines that Traxler (2007), recommend are an efficient, ethical, and authentic. He believes the evaluation should access what learners really experience from using mobile devices. In addition, the evaluation should be economical in terms of cost and time. These guidelines can help execute more evaluations and studies on mobile devices in the future. While there are limited studies on this topic, we will discuss what is known about mobile education in elementary school and higher education. If teachers are now surrounded with mobile devices and technology, why do some teachers not utilize these materials or opportunities? While some teachers refuse to acknowledge technology or refuse to change their teaching styles, other teachers have begun to discuss the use of technology.

The problem is that teachers usually concentrate on teaching about the technologies to students instead of having the students use the technologies to learn with (Salomon, 1991). Therefore, the student never really learns how to utilize the technology first-hand. It can be related to teaching a child how to ride a bicycle. You can lecture a child about everything there is to know about a bicycle and how to ride it. However, the child will never learn how to ride a bicycle unless the child is given the opportunity to actually test the skills by riding a real bicycle. If not, the child certainly does not know how to ride a bicycle. One good way of understanding if a student can use mobile device is by analyzing a study of how the student is taught. The project was to implement mp3 players as cognitive tools to create a digital book of pictures and sounds for children (Herrington, et al., 2009).

Students were asked to write a story intended for young children and use the technology on iPods to recreate a digital version of that story. Students were placed into groups where they learned about the iPod and used learned practical usages that would help when creating a digital story. Then each group was given an iPod along with other resources like a computer to begin the process of creating the digital story. The researchers interviewed the teacher to gain insight on certain questions. The teacher believed the students responded positively to using iPods for the project. Overall, they enjoyed and had positive experiences using the iPod for creating the digital story.

Even though teachers know iPods are too sophisticated for younger children, they gave several examples of how they would utilize an iPod to teach young children. Some examples included singing songs, listening to a narrative of a story, and recording children while they read. Overall, students learned a lot from this experience. Not only did they learn how to use an iPod but also utilized other software such as PowerPoint, Photoshop, and iMovie. Mobile learning in higher education as a new educational tool

The authors Mcconatha D, Praul M, and Lynch M illustrate that mobile learning or M-learning as it has come to be known is a new tool in the academic store to assist students and teachers in the learning world. The authors assess the challenges, possible methods and potential of using M-learning in a college classroom. The article further discusses an empirical evaluation on the effectiveness of M-learning in a college classroom.

From the research carried out those students who used M-learning tool demonstrated higher levels of knowledge on the subject covered as compared to students who did not use the tool. This results support the notion that use of mobile learning makes a positive and significant difference in the outcome performance of students. The main obstacle of M-learning is that it heavily relies on students owning the necessary hardware.

Studies show evidence of different ways in which teachers utilize mobile devices for learning. At Osaka Jogakuin College, a college in Japan, first year students were given iPod for English class so students can download podcasts of English news broadcasts (McCarty, 2005). These English language news broadcasts were portable for students and were used to complete homework assignments. It seemed beneficial for Japanese students since they can learn the English language and how English is spoken on a news broadcast. The use of mobile technologies to support learning in large campus university classes

The research paper by Oliver, R. seeks to show the advantages of using mobile and wireless technologies in large classes. The authors approach is; technology facilitated learning: technology is an affordable way of providing meaningful learning for learners and it provides appropriate learning support. The focus is on mobile learning and how it distinguishes itself from the conventional forms of E-learning. There being a growing number of devices that can be used for mobile learning, the authors aim is to show how these devices can provide opportunities to enhance learning.

This research paper provides descriptions of applications of mobile technology that can be used to provide opportunities and reduce the limitations within large classes. Research should be done to examine how cultural changes can affect the integration of mobile technology in learning and the cultural issues that need to be addressed.

Examples of Types of Learning that Involve Devices

Mobile devices can be employed into E-learning through numerous ways. While different teachers have different styles and conceptions of teaching, they can also have diverse ways of utilizing mobile devices. Mobile devices can be used in education to support the transmission and delivery of strong multimedia material (Traxler, 2007). A teacher can post a video for the students to watch on their own time for homework on their mobile device. Other teachers may use mobile devices as a way of discussion via text or possibly real-time dialogue. Web 2.0 has also been used to improve learning. For example, students may text their reaction and opinion to an online article that the teacher chose for discussion. The type of learning a teacher uses can also have an impact on how the teacher uses the mobile device in the classroom. Personalized learning is defined as learning that acknowledges diversity, difference and individuality (Traxler, 2007).

These different learning styles and approaches implement social, cultural, and diverse aspects into learning. A teacher may implement a language program like Roseta Stone for teaching Spanish in the classroom. By installing the program to the mobile device, each student has access to the activities and lessons related to learning Spanish. Situated learning is another type of learning that can utilize mobile devices. Another learning style, authentic learning, involves learning real-life problems and everyday scenarios that occur today (Traxler, 2007). A good example would be using authentic learning in a nursing class. Students would be participating in an activity that would simulate a role-playing scenario.

With technology, some mobile devices may already have role-playing applications where nursing students can practice giving a shot or taking blood out of a patient. Something as sophisticated as this would be a great learning tool for nursing students. In conclusion, technology affects our lives in more than one way. Technological advancement is known to bring in changes that maybe positive or negative, but many are the times that technology has resulted in positive change. As illustrated in this paper the adoption of M-learning is set to bring in positive change in the delivery of education.

Either from the various researches that have been carried out, those who adopt M learning have performed better or had an easy time teaching or learning. The negativity surrounding mobile learning has been brought about by the lack of appropriate knowledge concerning the benefits of mobile learning. Education on the benefits of mobile learning is highly recommended as majority of those opposed to mobile learning lack proper information and are still tied down to their traditional knowledge of mobile learning. Mobile learning in institutions of higher learning is highly recommended as it is a cheaper way of providing education for large classes and the students tend to understand more easily where M-learning is employed.


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