Here are some thoughts I published at the 2006 ACT Board of Studies Workshop on Mobile Learning, held at Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) on February 1 2006, in a flyer entitled “101 ideas for Mobile Learning (well… several anyway)”
Match the Delivery with the Content Think about the content you’re trying to provide to your learners, and ask… which medium is well-suited to this kind of information? A text document describing birdcalls is almost as useless as a dictionary in audio format for iPods. Turning learning guides into PDA text documents may not provide the content in a practical mobile form… think outside the square.
Destination or Transitory Mobility? Think about the way in which learners are likely to use the mobile learning resource. Will they be using it between destinations (e.g. listening to audio in the car, on a bus, or while walking), or are they going to be using the resource at a particular place (e.g. a PDA brought to a worksite as a reference)?
Design the Mobile Experience Mobile devices have limited screen real-estate. Use Post-It Notes to storyboard and sequence your mobile learning experiences – they’re repositionable and their size forces you to think “little screen… concentrated quality”.
Use Mobile Learning for its Strengths When considering a Mobile Learning approach, think… am I using Mobile Learning for what it’s best at? Or am I substituting a lesser technology for a better one for the sake of “Mobile Learning”? for example… there’s no point using a mobile phone camera if it’s equally convenient to us a proper digital camera. And there’s no point asking students to painstakingly copy information into PDAs if it’s just as valid and convenient to use a sheet of paper and a pen.
It’s Everywhere You Are Many mobile devices are highly integrated with our lifestyles, and are likely to be carried everywhere, like the Swiss Army Knife of the 21st Century. The convenience and pervasiveness of mobile devices is their main strength. Use this strength to reach your learners with information they need, store information your learners may need later, and get learners to complete tasks while going about their day-to-day lives.
Record, Recall, Relate
Mobile devices can be used: to record information (including pictures, movies, sounds, data, numbers and text) for later recall; recall information from the device’s storage, or from remote sources such as the Internet; and relate with other people and organisations using text, speech, and visual communication tools.
Above All… Is It good Learning?
Microsoft created an SMS version of Homer’s Illiad. But is there any point converting classic literature into SHRT ABRV8TD MSGS? Remember, whatever the delivery medium, the fundamental principles of pedagogy still apply.