Mobile Learning Summer Vodcast Series

Dr Rob Power, from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and IAmLearn committee member, presents a YouTube summer vodcast series on Teaching and Learning with Mobile Technology. He interviews several mobile learning experts regarding key issues and trends in mobile learning.

Deploying Mobile Technologies in Education

  • Date: 8 June 2016
  • Link:
  • IAmLearn founding director, and Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI) member Dr Mohamed Ally talks about the arguments for and against integrating mobile technologies in formal education, and key considerations when implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.
  • Key points:
    • Context: changes in technologies (focus on tablets, phones), student expectations for mobile learning, access OERs.
    • Institutions need to include mobile learning in strategic plans.
    • BYOD/T: there are both drawbacks (delivery cope with different devices, cater to students using multiple devices, changes in devices) and benefits (technology maintenance, students familiar with own devices).
    • May be a need for mobile device built specifically for education.
    • Issues/Challenges: Infrastructure issues – power and internet; training of teachers; designing materials for mobile access.

Defining mLearning

  • Date: 21 June 2016
  • IAmLearn president Dr Aga Palalas discusses the difficulties in defining what exactly mobile learning is, why mobile technologies are important in teaching and learning, and the role of IAmLearn.
  • Key points:
    • IAmLearn: forum for research and development in mobile and contextual learning.
    • Defining mlearning: different contexts of mlearning, needs of learners, subjects, devices (laptops included or not?), mobility.
    • Learning is not truly always and everywhere.
    • Seamless connectivity: formal and informal learning.
    • Mlearning key concepts: flexibility, portability, convenience.

Future Trends in Mobile Learning

  • Date: 22 June 2016
  • Link:
  • Former IAmLearn president Dr Marcus Specht about the future of mobile learning, including the increasing roles of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications, and wearable technologies.
  • Key points:
    • VR: create a virtual world, AR – connecting real world with virtual aspects e.g. museum guide, use visual channel with augmented audio channel.
    • Wearables: sensors, display, computing power – used alone or with other devices to create body area network.
    • Trends: consolidation of technologies, scalability, wearables with visual augmentations.

Scalability and Sustainability in Mobile Learning

  • Date: 11 July 2016
  • IAmLearn vice-president John Traxler, the “world’s first professor of mobile learning,” discusses scalability and sustainability with mobile learning projects, and their implications for teachers and educational institutions.
  • Key points:
    • mLearning has not changed enough, still focused on elearning background. But mobile experiences or expectations are diferent to computers.
    • Scalability – moving from small to big? But issues become diferent (capacity, culture, organisation change). On the other hand, when we talk devices, they are already scaled.
    • Learners learn differently when consider greater scale. Look at how other big projects worked (not moving small to big).
    • Must understand the importance of context.
    • Mobiles are pervasive.
    • Where is the agency in learning? Students have the devices, services, networks.
    • Use of mobiles is social, they are used differently, we require less focus on aspects of psychology, more on sociology.

Mobile Technologies and STEM

  • Date: 12 July 2016
  • Dr Mike Sharples of the Open University of the UK discusses the use of mobile technologies to facilitate STEM education, and scientific inquiry using the Sense-it app.
  • Key points:
    • STEM Education – using technologies like remote laboratories, online and mobile learning.
    • Project focus: connect in and out of class, website and Sense-it app (15 sensors on your phone) – citizen science experiments. Also working with schools for practical explorations.
    • Encourage the “try it yourself” approach.

Teacher Preparation and Pedagogical Approaches to Mobile Learning

  • Date: 18 July 2016
  • IAmLearn members and Ohio State University researchers Dr Dean Cristol and Dr Belinda Gimbert discuss the challenges in preparing teachers to integrate mobile technologies in teaching and learning practice, and their work investigating pedagogical approaches to mLearning.
  • Key points:
    • A few years ago, schools not using technology, for example, please turn off cellphones.
    • Now it is slowly changing, but teachers do not know how to integrate technology into teaching.
    • Training teachers: Usage of technology to be embedded into learning to be a teacher (not just focus of one course).
    • Professional development: cannot impose things, need to know what they know and what they want and customise to individual needs.

User Interface Considerations for Mobile Learning

  • Date: 22 July 2016
  • Geoff Stead, Director of Digital and New Product Development at Cambridge English discusses user interface and accessibility considerations for mobile learning instructional design and resource development.
  • Key points:
    • The interface is affected by the context of use (what the learner wants).
    • Mobile first instructional design: can refer to responsive design by website designers, but more broadly means optimising for all devices.
    • Not all content should be pushed to every device, but look at device specific features.
    • Improve accessibility: granularity (smaller pieces of content), strip out the pedagogy, focus on multiple devices (not on a specific device), incorporate social aspects (easy to share, curate, comment), be where your learners are (do not need to always build own channels).
    • Native or web apps? Depends on the needs, usually cheaper for mobile web first.
    • Future: in-app search, more devices, AR.

Mobile Assisted Language Learning

Forthcoming on 9 August.


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