Can we really learn from mobile handheld devices?
There is much evidence that mobile technologies are playing an increasing role in education. For the most part, this role has been limited to administrative reminders and some elements of learner support particularly in relation to increasing access. It is clear that mobile technologies and especially 3rd Generation mobile phones will become ubiquitous as they become cheaper and connection charges reduce. // The paper will note that the use of mobile technologies is increasing in the developed world in a number of areas, for instance in context related education, and also illustrate how hand-held devices can be used for basic language, skills, numeracy and health and safety training and some aspects of teaching and learning across the developing and developed world. // But how far can mobile technologies replace existing distance education media in the successful support of student learning and academic teaching? And how far does this depend on the affordances provided by particular hand-held devices and so exclude many who can afford only basic mobiles? // This paper will examine some of the core issues that this raises: • The potential of mobile technologies to extend access has been demonstrated; how can this be mainstreamed and best used for learning support? • How far can hand-held mobile devices support distance learning and teaching as it is currently practised? • How far do mobile technologies promote new forms of learning and teaching which may supersede current practices? • Will mobile technologies ever become a mainstream educational medium as print-based and online learning through full-size computing devices are acknowledged to be today? // The paper concludes with a series of questions around these core issues.
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