Mobile Technology for Mobile Learning
This mobile learning environment will again broaden with the increased use of mobile technology (portable computers, PDAs) in a pedagogical context. These seemingly modest tools are now compatible with an array of software and can read multimedia resources, all while being wirelessly connected to the Web or a network. For example, a teacher may prepare a series of questions on his/her desktop computer and transfer them to a PDA (Personal digital assistant). Consequently, students who have a PDA can answer the questions directly on their device during a fieldtrip or their fieldwork. Audio files, video files (see, for example, Mathtutor), animated activities, or simulations may all be accessed in numerous contexts. Students may also be connected through such technology to do a team assignment.
The characteristics of mobile devices which allow them to be integrated into pedagogical integration are:
- Availability: large availability on the market at a low cost
- Multifunctionality: they support an array of applications
- Complementarity: they can be adapted to existing tools and software
- Portability: they can be used anywhere
- Facility of use: a low learning curve is involved
- Acceptability by the student: easily accepted as a learning tool
- Supportability of social interaction: they allow for data exchange and student collaboration
- Adaptability to a context: they allow for real or simulated data related to location, context, and duration of an activity to be sent and received,
- Connectivity: a network may be created by connecting the mobile devices to other mobile tools or networks
- Adaptability to the students: they adapt to the student’s learning pace and style
- Adaptability to various pedagogical activities: many examples of different pedagogical approaches already exist (behaviourism, constructivism, context learning, collaboration, continuing education).
What better way for students to learn than by exploring the world that surrounds them? Mobile technology supports such an exploration. However, this step forward using IT integration should always be made in keeping with traditional educational needs.