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By AJIGBOYE, Solomon Systems Librarian Covenant University P.M.B . 1023, Ota Ogun State. E-Mail: email@example.com
ABSTRACT: Telecommunication has been described as key infrastructure for economic and social development in this Information and Communication Technology (ICT) era. The technology required for elearning is provided by the ICT industry, namely, the mobile phones. The mobile telecommunication has been able to penetrate several areas in Nigeria including the core rural areas, as such should be able to facilitate mobile e-learning. This research therefore seeks to explore the possibility of a partnership between the academic community and the telecommunication sector for the delivery of Mobile e-learning and interactive learning. The study would present the growth rate of telecommunication industries in Nigeria, their coverage, accessibility and stability in terms of social/developmental infrastructure (such as electricity which has become a pandemic in Nigeria). Also it will focus on the Academic Library as a facilitating environment / fulcrum for M-Learning in the area of classifying and cataloguing electronic resources, as well as how local content could be created to enhance proper understanding of the subjects in the M-learning subjects curriculum for mobile e-learning. The outcome of the research would enhance a partnership between the academic institutions and telecommunication service providers.
Introduction: ³If universities are serious about enhancing learning through the use of innovative technologies, much needs to be done to demonstrate how this might take place.´ (Kennedy, et al.(2006))´ In recent years, there has been a rapid growth of mobile phone networks in developing countries. Most of the countries including Nigeria have skipped fixed ±line infrastructure and leap-frogged directly into mobile technology. Currently mobile telephony is the predominant mode of communication in Nigeria. The advent of mobile telecommunication companies in Nigeria has therefore gradually begun to close the digital gap (within) between the rich and the poor in the country (thanks to the china phones). It will also be of great interest that this development can be extended to other facet of the citizenry¶s life such as the education sector , in other to reduce if not totally eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria by creating a partnership between Nigerian Telecommunication companies and the academic institution. Will this development fundamentally alter the nature of globalization in Africa, or does the new landscape of mobile telephony simply represent an overlay on existing economic structures ± a form of thin integration? This is why there is need to explore how this development can be annexed in the education sector to achieve more in Education 2015 target and beyond as we pursue the Millennium Development Goals. In bid to achieve the integration of
Telecommunications in Education there is need to start considering full implementation of Mlearning in our various institutions of learning especially those that have started full distance learning using the electronic medium. Mobile learning through the use of wireless mobile technology allows anyone to access information and learning materials from anywhere and at any time. As a result, learners have
control of when they want to learn and from which location they want to learn. Also, all humans have the right to access learning materials and information to improve their quality of life regardless of where they live, their status, and their culture. Mobile learning, through the use of mobile technology, will allow Nigerians to access learning materials and information from anywhere and at any time. Learners will not have to wait for a certain time to learn or go to a certain place to learn. With mobile learning, learners will be empowered since they can learn whenever and wherever they want. Also, learners do not have to learn what is prescribed to them. They can use the wireless mobile technology for formal and informal learning where they can access additional and personalized learning materials from the Internet or from the host organization. Workers on the job can use the mobile technology to access training materials and information when they need it for just-in-time training. Just-in-time learning encourages high level learning since learners¶ access and applies the information right away rather than learn the information and then apply the information at a later time. Educators and trainers are empowered since they can use the mobile With respect to technologies, µmobile¶ generally means portable and personal(Naismith, 2004), like a mobile phone.M-learning (mobile learning) is a kind of E-learning which based on the use of mobile devices (PDAs,mobile phones, notebooks or Tablet PCs) anywhere atany time(Georgiev, Georgieva, & Smrikarov, 2004) These devices must support wireless communicational technologies (GPRS, GSM, IEEE802.11, Bluetooth, and IrDA) and have a possibility topresent teaching materials, and to realize anasynchronous/synchronous
communication betweenlearners and teachers (Evgeniva, Angel, & Tsvetozar, 2005).
In this paper, we focus on the strength of technologies, and the infrastructure, strength of academic libraries as content provider, and by the literatures review. Secondly, the line map and
practical method of developing M-learning standards are reviewed. As a kind of network application based on mobile communication platform, M-learning is related to equipment provider, network provider, content provider, technology provider and service provider. In the process of disseminating and applying M-learning technology, the standardization of M-learning will play a leading role.
The Strengths of Mobile Phones There are several reasons why mobile phones are considered as particularly important for development. Beyond basic connectivity, mobile phones offer benefits such as mobility and security to owners (Donner, 2006) . In addition, due to their unique characteristics, the mobile phone is an especially good leapfrogged: it works using the radio spectrum, as such there is no need to rely on physical infrastructure such as roads and phone wires, and base-stations can be powered using their own generators in places where there is no electrical grid(Economist, 2008). Furthermore, mobile phones only require basic literacy, and therefore are accessible to a large segment of the population. Also mobiles enjoy some technical advantages that make them particularly attractive for development. In addition to voice communication, mobile phones allow for the transfer of data, which can be used in the context of applications for the purposes of health, education, commerce or governance. The Academic Libraries: ³Librarian: Selects and organizes materials to make information available to the public.´ (From careercast.com list of ³200 Top Jobs´) Gilman & Kunkel (2010) Libraries have traditionally been defined by their collections. A commonly held perception ± and it is not inaccurate ± is that libraries exist to collect large
quantities of information, to organize that information (into collections ± Adult, Young Adult, Children¶s, Videos, Reference, Periodicals, etc.), and to make that information accessible to patrons. This is true regardless of the type of library; indeed, library type can be seen as yet another organization into collections of like materials (Medical, Special, School, Academic, etc.). Libraries do augment these collections with services ± interlibrary loan, reference, instruction ± but these are often seen as peripheral to the primary role of collector or as existing to serve patrons need to access the library¶s collections. For academic libraries in particular, this perception of the library as a collector / provider of external resources ± books, databases, journals, DVDs, et al. ± can lead to a correspondent perception of limited utility. The academic library becomes defined in students and faculty members minds by its role as a source of reading material to create literature reviews, to do back- ground research, to augment bibliographies and reading lists. A recent editorial by a university faculty member emphasizes this point: The core purposes of the academy are to teach and to produce new knowledge. Books, journals, music and electronic access to online information sources remain vital for undergraduate students writing research papers or seeking further knowledge. Graduate student and faculty research depends on the depth and breadth of a library¶s holdings. In the case of public universities, moreover, library holdings are important for citizens seeking to educate themselves. The library is a means to an end: enabling students and faculty to access archives. The above description is the orthodox way of describing a library while in recent times you will agree that we talk about Digital libraries, E-libraries, E-books, E-resources and libraries without walls.
DIGITAL LIBRARIES: Digital libraries are new hybrid learning spaces serving as far broader purpose than simply old libraries. A digital library is a collection of documents in organized electronic form, available on the Internet or on CD-ROM (compact-disk read-only memory) disks Digital Dictionary (2008). Depending on the specific library, a user may be able to access magazine articles, books, papers, images, sound files, and videos. ..This hybrid has even developed further to embrace the web 2.0 Technologies in use in the library today. This investment is proving worthwhile. A recent survey concluded that of the libraries studied, those which had changed and developed their physical spaces µexperienced sustained increases in usage of the physical facility following project completion¶ (Shill and Tonner, 2004: 149). As students have become more accustomed to using digital technologies, such technologies have become embedded within the university environment and caused a transition in the way space is used and viewed. However, these changes also reflect trends in learning and communicating within the academic environment. As Brian Lang, former Director of the British Library, points out: µlibraries throughout history have been extraordinarily successful social spaces¶ (Lang, 2001: 11). Moreover, many Universities today have started migrating to a digital platform for better and quality service provision for their users. As all the contents that will be needed to fuel the collaboration between the telecommunication industries and the Academic Libraries are already in place.
The Case for Mobile Education It is possible to make a strong case for mobile education on ³purist´ or theoretical pedagogic grounds. This purist case for mobile learning includes the idea that mobile learning will support a wide variety of conceptions of teaching, and the idea that mobile learning is uniquely placed to support learning that is personalized, authentic, and situated. Different teachers and disciplines will have different conceptions of teaching (Kember 1997) that they will attempt to bring to education. These conceptions of teaching may vary from ones primarily concerned with the delivery of content to those focused on supporting student learning (i.e., by discussion and collaboration). Mobile learning technologies clearly support the transmission and delivery of rich multimedia content. They also support discussion and discourse, real-time, synchronous and asynchronous, using voice, text and multimedia. Different disciplines, say for example sociology or literature as opposed to engineering, may also require broadly different conceptions of teaching. Distance learning versus site-based/face-to-face education forms another alternative axis to the subject axis; distance educators will have their own conceptions of teaching, often inÀuenced by Illich (1971), Freire (1972), and Gramsci (1985). What are called ³styles of learning´ will also exert an inÀuence on how mobile learning is conceptualized. This is currently a contested area (Cof¿eld, Moseley, Hall, and Ecclestone 2005), but similar arguments could be advanced about the capacity of mobile learning to ¿t with the various preferred approaches to learning adopted by different (distance) students at different times. By personalized learning, we mean learning that recognizes diversity, difference, and individuality in the ways that learning is developed, delivered, and supported. Personalized learning de¿ned in this way includes learning
SETTING THE STAGE: ESTABLISHING PARTNERSHIPS M-learning system Several technologies are available to implement a dynamic and adaptive M-learning system. Sever side techniques using Java servlet, JSP, ASP, PHP and other proprietary authoring tool such as macromedia flash with action script can be used. Other enhanced severs such as CoCoon or Xalan are capable of implementing device adaptable system. Fig. 1 shows an overview of M-learning system, where XML files are used to store the content (questions), directions for multimedia representation of revision material for the students, and the user model. These involve the content and user dimensions . M-learning systems can support different types of mobile devices, such as wireless laptops, iPods, cell phones, PDAs, Tablet PCs, and smart phones.
From the viewpoint of communication service character, M-learning is the integration of data serviceand mobile service. WAP is the standard for mobile data service support by many equipment providers, and has been widely applied in wireless Internet. WAP protocol stack is
compared with Internet protocol stack, as seen in Fig. 2. In order to understand their difference, lower layer protocol is also given in Fig. 3. Now WAP has developed from initial V1.0 (WSP/WTP/WTLS/ WDP) to V2.0 (WP-TCP).
Fig. 2 Above analysis shows that five broad categories of information and communication technologies (ICT), namely transport, platform, delivery, media technologies, and development languages, should be considered in considering the implementation of M-learning. Further investigation on M-learning system shows that Different Delivery Platforms and Removable Storage Memory Formats should be considered in Client Platforms; in the respect of Mobile Content development, Different media (audio, video, Web, images, document, Flash Lite) and their relevant questions, such as Resolution, Compression, Codecs, Local Playback, and Wireless/Streaming Access, should be separately examined in its entirety; in the respect of Mobile Content Support, a comprehensive programmer should be made for accessibility, content packaging and metadata; in
the respect of Mobile Content Delivery, we should focus on mobile Web services, wireless data connectivity (IrDA, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPRS, et al) and proximal learning technologies (GPS, RFID, 2D Barcodes) . Where Is The Telecommunications? The telecommunications industry is one of the most dynamic and volatile industries in the world, fueled by a combination of de-regulation and consolidation that has led to a complete overhaul of the competitive landscape. The various infrastructure as required for effective transmission of M-learning is all embedded in the telecommunication infrastructure, below is a list of all the telecommunications infrastructure; 1. Broadband Infrastructure 2. Carrier Infrastructure 3. Digital Media Infrastructure 4. IP Services Infrastructure 5. Mobile Core 6. Optical Infrastructure 7. Telecom Infrastructure Services 8. Wireless Infrastructure 9. Power Infrastructure These entire infrastructures are of great importance if we are to develop and maximize the area of M-learning in Nigeria. The Nigeria Power systems has failed us times without number and there is no solution in sight but this failure has been cared for in the infrastructure.
Recommendation This hidden treasure yet undiscovered in the Nigeria Education System can help us to attain our goal of education for all in the year 2015, many telecommunication industries are already in the market and a lot of competition is going on, thereby prompting each providers to look for value added services which can give them edge over their competitors. However, with all their infrastructures and collaboration with various academic libraries not only in the areas of building digital libraries equipped with ICT gadgets, but by allowing libraries in collaboration with other departments of the school to provide the various educational materials based on the school curriculum which will be born digital materials available on a dedicated server which will be hosted either buy the school or the Telecommunication companies and can be accessed via the technologies made available by the telecommunication companies and this will be delivered anywhere , anytime at the convenience of the users. Therefore, the libraries in conjunction with any of the telecommunications providers be it MTN, Glo, Zain, Etisalat, etc can develop a memoranda of understanding for this partnership.
Conclusion The collaboration between the telecommunication and academic libraries in either / both private and public universities will really result in an exponential growth of education for all in Nigeria; this can allow remote area to access educational materials. As this has been in practice in other part of the world even in South Africa we can leapfrog into it and enjoy the full befit of the telecommunication growth. Therefore, school libraries in conjunction with telecommunications companies can begin to work out the modalities of reaching all through this technology as this will only lead them to full maximization or better specialization and dedication to another value added services that all can equally benefit from. Finally, as we all know that the only set of companies that cannot exit this nation physically are the telecommunications despite the fact that power may be erratic, they have all the infrastructure needed for this M-learning and the libraries especially the ones that are up-to-date in the area of technology application to libraries and subscription to digital materials can make available all the needed contents to drive the content aspect of M-learning. It is therefore imperative that a partnership between libraries and telecommunications is welcome and will subsequently lead to fulfilling education for all by the year 2015.
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The University of Texas at Austin. (1995, December 14). Telecommunications/Distance Learning Subcommittee Report and Recommendations: Report. Retrieved March 12, 2010, from Multimedia Instruction Committee at UT AUSTIN: http://www.utexas.edu/computer/mic/tdlreportbody.html Waard, I. d. (2009, October 21). eLearning techtales with social media in low resource and mobile settings. Retrieved March 12, 2010, from Ignatia Webs : http://ignatiawebs.blogspot.com/2009/10/paper-reviewmobile-learning-paper.html