What are Mobiles?


According to a recent report from mobile manufacturer Ericsson, studies show that by 2015, 80% of people accessing the Internet will be doing so from mobile devices. Perhaps more important for education, Internet-capable mobile devices will outnumber computers within the next year. In Japan, over 75% of Internet users already use a mobile as their first choice for access. This shift in the means of connecting to the Internet is being enabled by the convergence of three trends: the growing number of Internet-capable mobile devices, increasingly flexible web content, and continued development of the networks that support connectivity.

The available choices are many — smart phones, tablets, laptops, and the newest class of devices like the iPad that blends the functions of all of them — and the boundaries between them are more and more blurred. It has become common practice to develop web content that seamlessly adjusts for optimal display on whichever of these devices is used to access it, increasing the proportion of Internet applications and information that is accessible to mobile users. Mobile and wireless data networks continue to evolve, supporting faster connections and higher bandwidth throughput; the forthcoming 4G network promises the highest speeds yet, and 4G devices are already beginning to appear on the market.


ALT-C Next Steps:

Please capture the discussion of your groups around this question in the space below:

How can we maximise the ability of Higher and Further Education institutions and their learning technology innovators to take advantage of this emerging technology and its applications?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

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Enable students to do it on their own phones.
Create opportunities for deep learning.
Barrier is getting learning on to different platforms and costs.
Need cheaper access for students for HE - CHEST could possibly help with this.
New pedagogies - paradigm shift
Institutional infrastructure, policies, procedures, branding, etc
Used widely in Africa
Are smart phones more for accessing information? Do tablets give more opportunities?
Need to understand how to mediate learning in this new environment
Infrastructure, pedagogy, content, interactions.
Reusable learning designs for mobile learning.
Mobile is one of tools used by holistic learner should therefore work with it.
Mobile as learning mediator.



Work of the Advisory Board previous to Sept 5

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Relevant everywhere - I'm sat in a cafe using 3G to catch up on my email and Twitter from my iPhone. Found an email link, looked it up, posted it to Twitter, and wrote about it here in about 5 mins. Makes 'doing my homework' easy, fun, and easy to share. - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011
  • Where organisations are courageous enough and creative enough it could create brand new pedagogical approaches but it creates plenty of challenges too in terms of cyberbullying, accessing inappropriate content and distractability with learners more interested in what someone has just posted about them on twitter than what the teacher is trying to achieve. The issues and barriers are not about the technology - they rarely are - its about the humans using it and whether a culture of "Put your phones away" is easier to manage than a culture of "get your ohones out and switch them on". - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011
  • Collaboration and file sharing - this is a powerful potential use with Bluetooth, Wifi or other technologies allowing students to collaborate together on work. This is frustrated at the moment by lack of compatibility between file support, bluetooth interoperability and appropriate software tools. A note I take on my iPhone is entirely incompatible with a note I take on my old Windows powered iPaq. Furthermore, my iPaq can swap files with my PC instantly with Bluetooth but my iPhone can't do anything useful with bluetooth other than communicate with a headset, keyboard and bluetooth brailler (the latter is impressive but the inability to share files is not). - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Cost - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011 - Agreed but it is a complex area - for example if someone has 500 free texts a month and only ever uses 100 they'll be more likely to use texting as a back-channel process in a lesson than someone who is Pay As You Go and is near their limit. Similarly data charges for accessing the web. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011
  • Interoperability/availability of apps on different platforms - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011
  • Cultural factors - Some JISC studies have shown students wanting to make a clear distinction between their personal lives and their institutional life - for example "I use my phone for listening to my music.. I don't want to listen to podcasts on it! - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011
  • Implementation of effective standards. Whilst virtually all mobile devices support the MP3 standard virtually none of them support Daisy standard and yet Daisy audio is hugely more navigable and therefore useful than MP3. It is extremely difficult to listen to an hour-long podcast and find the bits you need but it is very easy with an hour-long Daisy file to get to the bits of interest. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011
  • How this changes everything for our central IT services departments. Link this to 'cloud computing' and you get a totally different model of service delivery. Device independence. User-led. Must change culture to one of enablement rather than service-led provision. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research or information management within the next five years?

  • Instant access to information - could be both positive and negative depending on learning situation - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011 This can help crete new teaching approaches. If teachers shift from being purveyors of knowledge to agents of understanding then the whole education system can't help but improve! - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011
  • Potentially disruptive in lectures/classes etc. - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011 ..for this reason (as well as the threat to teacher status as sage on the stage) they will meet resistance in many quarters. Teacher training will need to adapt to capitalise on the positives otherwise conservatism will react to the negatives. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011
  • Ego-threat! "Are people paying attention to me?" - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011
  • There is tremendous potential in using the devices to capture the learner's own evidence - for example creating sound clips or video clips explaining practical or field courses. They lend themselves particularly well as a tool for inclusion, supporting people with a range of disabilities to capture or present evidence incompletely new ways that play to their strengths rather than their weaknesses. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

Mike Sharples of Nottingham researchs into mobile/disruptive technologies. - kelly.smith kelly.smith May 17, 2011
The RD department at eXact learning solutions (www.exact-learning.com) has worked and is working on several EU projects adopting/extending Mobile devices for learning solutions. Namely:
Mobilearn (www.mobilearn.org)
Polymnia (polymnia.pc.unicatt.it)
contsens (www.ericsson.com)
irmos (www.irmosproject.eu)
mleman (http://mleman.dipseil.net)
wearitatwork (www.wearitatwork.com)
KeytoNature (http://www.keytonature.eu)
- fabrizio.cardinali fabrizio.cardinali May 17, 2011

The MoleNet project (http://www.molenet.org.uk/) is a treasure trove of projects across a wide range of subject areas in a very wide range of contexts using lots of different mobile technologies supported by an expert mentor group.
On a smaller scale, but proportionally still very rich in practical evidence is the inclusivity projects run by RSC Yorkshire and Humber - http://inclusivity.rsc-yh.ac.uk/- alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011

A number of Independent specialist colleges in the UK catering for learners with complex needs have been using mobile devices to great effect. The results can be found at http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/resources/detail/goingdigital/go_mobile in the form of a publication - "GoMobile - Maximising the potential of mobile technologies for learners with disabilities.". The JISC TechDis service has also created free practical guidance for teaching staff - see Upwardly Mobile - getting started in inclusive mobile learning - http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/pages/detail/online_resources/Upwardly_Mobile. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 18, 2011




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