Mobile and contextual learning
Is mobile learning just a part of everyday learning? This is a relevant question in an age when most people throughout the world now have access to mobile phones and mobility is increasingly taken for granted. In one sense, mobile learning is no different to carrying a textbook or learning through conversations at home, as part of formal education or in the workplace. The technology may be more engaging, but is the learning any different? Despite the ubiquity of mobile phones, smartphones, mp3 players and, increasingly, access to Wi-Fi connections and GPS navigation, the reasons for using mobile and wireless technologies in education are not yet widely known. There is significant specialist expertise, built from ten years of research (and more recently, reflective practice) to demonstrate the unique characteristics of mobile learning, which include orchestrating shared learning with personal devices across formal and informal settings, providing immediately useful information, offering timely revision and reflection, connecting real and virtual locations, and enriching field trips and cultural visits. This knowledge needs to be disseminated and examined from new perspectives.