Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mobile Learning-The Next Big Thing in U.S. Higher Education

The award winning Learning2Go partnership is currently the largest collaborative mobile learning project for pupils in the UK. Below is a quote from "21st Century Mobile learning becomes reality for learners in the City of Wolverhampton":
Put quite simply, if learners are to use the power of the internet and all of the content and authoring tools that are now available, they need access to a device at a time of their choosing and driven by their learning needs.
Some may say this is a ways off still for the U.S. Others will argue it's already here as some of our colleges and universities (and schools) have been moving in this direction. But I believe that soon mobile learning in colleges and universities will become ubiquitous in the U.S. The devices are finally becoming inexpensive enough, with increasingly high quality screen resolution and longer battery life. And with Google's Android and other open source programs there will be more Web based applications available than ever before. Also consider the increasing amount of digitized materials being made freely available along with ebook reader like capabilities on these devices. The handheld device makes sense for many reasons now including providing better pedagogical opportunities. Soon I can see students paying a little more than they currently pay for their cell phone text messaging machines for a machine that allows them to also take a class on their device or supplement their in-class coursework.
Of course librarians need to consider this as we continue to develop ways to best serve students and faculty. And academic libraries in some ways could become more important as a place where students gather to work and collaborate using larger touch screen computers and other technology to facilitate learning in groups. There's much to think about still but this is going to happen, it really is time.

1 comment:

Cyril Oberlander said...

Mobile learning and one laptop per child are great parts of a large global connection migration that may be the next big thing - time for the learning environment to shed some of it's traditional bricks and gain some very mobile small screens. While TV, the precursor, has had a very successful go as the oneway teacher, smart phones and mobile computing can, if well supported by higher education, become a very creative, active and community building experience. More specifically, it's the content programming that matters in these spaces, so while Murdoch's MySpace & News, Turner's Network, or Disney's Channel may seem to dominate the scene; in learning, there is no single strong landmark, in fact, I often look at BBC, PBS, and Wikipedia as the strongest players. I would like to see Librarians play part architect and facilitator to help higher ed cooperatively lead themselves into a more globally cooperative and scalable presence in learning everywhere. Thanks for your posts Robin.