Friday, November 3

mobile learning myopia?

I am very enthused by how many educators are starting to think seriously about mobile learning. There is great stuff happening out there. But at the same time I am increasingly depressed by comments I keep stumbling over in forums, and by certain published research studies that seem to be missing the point entirely.

It seems that several strains of myopia are afflicting the educational community

myopia strain 1: No-woods-in-sight-because-of-all-the-trees

People getting all worked up about minutiae: how the keyboards are so small, or the processor is so slow, or which brands of device are the best ones without noticing the major shifts in learning styles (and media consumption) that are happening at the same time

surely that is the most important thing of all?

myopia strain 2: It-may-be-OK-for-your-learners-but-mine-are-different

For some reason many people in HE don't seem to grasp that lessons being learned in schools, in work-places or in FE may actually be relevant to them or their learners. (I think this is often connected with them struggling to think outside the rather old-fashioned box of how HE traditionally delivers learning)

maybe if the learning works well, the delivery ought to adapt itself to follow the learning?

myopia strain 3: If-we-haven't-researched-it-enough-it-can't-be-useful

I get invited to research conferences every now and again, and there really seems a firm belief that more (and more and more) research is needed to show how we can use mobile learning. But the people saying this normally haven't got a clue about what is already happening out there in hundreds of places of learning. The evidence - though not well written up - is there already, and it is being actively used right now.

research reinforces and justifies what we are doing - but we don't need to wait for it before improving our skills and techniques. take a risk!

Of course there are some wonderful HE people, as well as some very switched on researchers. But sadly they seem to be in the minority when it comes to mobile learning. What's happening? Are we going backwards as we get more mainstream?

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