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Preparing teachers for a mobile world, to improve access to education

Preparing teachers for a mobile world, to improve access to education

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Published by Martin
Draft - Original published in: Ally, M., Grimus, M., Ebner, M. (2014) Preparing teachers for a mobile world, to improve access to education. Prospectus. 2014. Springer Netherlands. p. 1-17
Draft - Original published in: Ally, M., Grimus, M., Ebner, M. (2014) Preparing teachers for a mobile world, to improve access to education. Prospectus. 2014. Springer Netherlands. p. 1-17

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Published by: Martin on Feb 19, 2014
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03/31/2014

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Preparing Teachers for a Mobile World to Improve Access to Education
Mohamed Ally Professor Athabasca University, Canada Margarete Grimus PhD Student Department Social Learning Graz University of Technology, Austria Martin Ebner Associate Professor Department Social Learning Graz University of Technology, Austria
Abstract
Based on the recent global statistics on the use of mobile technology, the world is becoming mobile. People are using mobile technology to socialize, to conduct  business, to search for information, etc. This is the first time in history that  people around the world has the potential to learn from any location at their own convenience. To achieve this goal, the education system has to change to allow mobile access to education. The most important change will have to be teacher training on the use of mobile technology to design and deliver education and to  bridge informal learning. Existing Teachers will have to be provided  professional development to improve their knowledge and skills on mobile learning. Existing Teacher training programs have to be revised to include training on the use of mobile technology in education. The infrastructure to design and deliver mobile learning has to be established for efficient delivery of mobile learning. There is limited research on the use of mobile technology in education. Past research studies were short-term and they looked at learners’ satisfaction with mobile learning rather than how mobile learning improves  performance and retention. Future research must look at the long-term benefits of mobile learning and how it impact performance and retention. As mobile technologies emerge, teachers have to keep up with the changes so that they can take advantage of the power of the technology already used for informal learning to design and deliver education. Keywords: Mobile learning, teacher training, quality of education
 
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Introduction
 
The world is becoming more connected and mobile which will revolutionize education. Existing Teachers will have to be provided with professional development to improve their knowledge and skills on the use of mobile technology in education. Also, existing teacher training programs will have to be revised to include training on the use of mobile technology in education. Currently mobile smart devices are single multi-purpose computing devices, include multi-core  processors, high resolution touch-sensitive displays of various sizes, network connectivity, and are interfaced to a variety of sensors such as cameras, touch screens, and accelerometers which add potential to be used in education. According to a recent ITU report (2013), very soon there will be as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people inhabiting the planet, with the figure set to surpass the seven billion mark early in 2014. In developing countries, there are more mobile phones than computers. Citizens are by-passing the personal computer and notebook phases and moving directly into the mobile  phase. Mobile-broadband subscriptions have climbed from 268 million in 2007 to 2.1 billion in 2013 which reflects an average annual growth rate of 40% (ITU, 2013). Privately owned (personal) devices are possibly one of the more important factors, The mobile device has become a kind of personal ecosystem (Sharples, mLearn, 2011), when teachers engage with this effectively they are able to engage effectively with the student. Because of the proliferation of mobile technologies around the world, there should be a sense of urgency to implement learning with mobile devices in education. This is the first time in history that citizens, in different age groups, around the world have information and communication technologies in their own hands. Citizens are using the mobile technologies to complete everyday tasks and for informal learning by accessing information just in time from the world largest library, the Internet. Recent statistics show that people do not spend much time learning when using mobile phones. They spend time playing games, searching for information, socializing, reading the news, etc. (Bosomworth, 2013). The focus on technology must be overcome by understanding the nature of learning in a wider context as part of an increasingly mobile lifestyle (Sharples, 2009). Teachers must be trained on how to use mobile technology when teaching and students must be motivated to use mobile technology for learning. Teacher training and professional development programs must be re-designed to train teachers on the use of emerging technologies in education.
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In developing countries, the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions more than doubled from 2011 to 2013 (from 472 million to 1.16 billion) and surpassed those in developed countries in 2013 (ITU, 2013). The people in developing countries are investing in mobile education so that they can be connected and improve their quality of lives. Despite the high cost of mobile
 
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connectivity in developing countries, the uptake is greater than in developed countries (ITU, 2013). There are many ongoing projects in developing countries that are trying to bring the education to the people since many live in remote locations and cannot afford to go to distant  places to access education. Also, there are many initiatives around the world that require the use of wireless mobile technologies to achieve the goals of these initiatives. This includes the Education for All goals that are being implemented by UNESCO with help from a variety of organizations from around the world (UNESCO, 2000, p.8). The most efficient way to achieve these goals is by using mobile technology to reach the people who were unreachable in the past. Some citizens in remote regions and in developing countries have mobile technology that they can use to learn. This will require that teachers be trained to use emerging learning technologies to educate citizens and the teacher role will change from lecturing to that of facilitator of learning.
Mobile Technology and Learning
As the mobile technologies become more user-friendly and powerful, they will be used more widely in education. In a device-centric view, mobile learning is often equated with the mobile  phone, the PDA, or more recently, the tablet computer/iPad.
 
The technologies will become multi- purpose for learning and to complete other everyday activities such as socializing, doing  business, etc. Quinn (2010) identified the 4 Cs (Content, Computer, Communicate, and Capture) of mobile learning which shows the value of mobile technology for learning. The mobile technology can be used to deliver the Content, including multimedia content. The teacher can use the computing power of the mobile technology to develop simulation and games and can prompt the learner for data and then process the data. The learner can capture information using the capture features such as camera, audio, GPS, sensors, etc. to capture information for learning and sharing. The Communication features of the mobile technology allow the learner to communication with other learners and the teacher and to share information. The authors will add a fifth C and refer to this as Coordinate where the technology will have some intelligence to determine the learner’s progress, style of learning, learner problems, etc. and prescribes the appropriate learning activities for the learner. There has been considerable interest in the use of mobile learning in education. Mobile learning is not yet part of mainstream professional learning. This is apparent from the number of conferences on mobile learning and the extremely successful Mobile Learning Week Symposia hosted by UNESCO in Paris in December 2011 and in February 2013. The question is: “Why the increasing interest in mobile learning?” Mobile learning removes barriers to learning since  people in remote locations can use wireless mobile technologies to access learning materials from anywhere and anytime without having to leave their families and communities. A shift in interpretation of mobile learning can be figured out, emphasizing “
learning 
 
with mobile devices
” e.g. by creating authentic learning experience to solve real life problems: Mobile

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