Sultan Qaboos University College of Education Instructional and Learning Technologies Department

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Marwa Al Ibrahim / 58688 Tafool Tabook / 53675

What is mobile learning? M-learning, or "mobile learning", now commonly abbreviated to "mLearning", has different meanings for different communities. Although related to elearning and distance education, it is distinct in its focus on learning across contexts and learning with mobile devices. “… M-learning is the exciting art of using mobile technologies to enhance the learning experience. Mobile phones, PDAs, Pocket PCs and the Internet can be blended to engage and motivate learners, any time and anywhere. …”

Why use mobile devices for learning? Most mobile devices are useful in education as administration, organisation and teaching aids for practitioners, and also as learning support tools for learners. Here are some of the main benefits: • • • • • Learners can interact with each other and with the practitioner instead of hiding behind large monitors. It's much easier to accommodate several mobile devices in a classroom than several desktop computers. PDAs or tablets holding notes and e-books are lighter and less bulky than bags full of files, paper and textbooks, or even laptops. Handwriting with the stylus pen is more intuitive than using keyboard and mouse. It's possible to share assignments and work collaboratively; learners and practitioners can e-mail, cut, copy and paste text, pass the device around a group, or 'beam'? the work to each other using the infrared function of a PDA or a wireless network such as Bluetooth. Mobile devices can be used anywhere, anytime, including at home, on the train, in hotels - this is invaluable for work-based training. These devices engage learners - young people who may have lost interest in education - like mobile phones, gadgets and games devices such as Nintendo DS or Playstation Portable. This technology may contribute to combating the digital divide, as this equipment (for example PDAs) is generally cheaper than desktop computers.

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Features of mobile learning system: The mobile learning system described by the following features:

• Allows users to have access to course resources impendent from time and place • Allows authenticated users to have access to the system • Allows users to have access to the resources in different formats (voice, text, picture and video) • Allows the reuse of material • Allows users to carry out the functions defined as an education component. • Offers flexible environment in which other services and components can be added. However we have to keep in mind that content of the mobile devices is based on their capabilities.

Support and Delivery: Most personal technologies can support mobile learning, including: • • • • • • Personal Digital Assistant, in the classroom and outdoors Tablet PC UMPC mobile phone, camera phone and Smartphone Learning Mobile Author, e.g. for authoring and publishing WAP, J2ME and Smartphone Personal audio player, e.g. for listening to audio recordings of lectures Handheld audio and multimedia guides, in museums and galleries Handheld game console, modern gaming consoles such as Sony PSP or Nintendo DS

Technical and delivery support for mobile learning: • • • 3GP For compression and delivery method of audiovisual content associated with Mobile Learning Wi-Fi is popular wireless technology used in home networks, mobile phones, video games and other electronic devices. GPRS mobile data service, provides high speed connection and data transfer rate

Advantages • Students have access to test and assignment results, and may obtain lecture notes and sample spreadsheets electronically, allowing for more focused in-class learning.

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Students use e-mail, Web sites, online discussion groups and other chat forums to collaborate with peers, faculty and experts in their area of study. Learning can be done anytime and anywhere. An instructor can get immediate feedback on the lesson Student’s can be assessed on multiple choices, true/false questions in the classroom. Real-time experiments can take place in classrooms. Instructors can provide examples such as simulations and web based documents Small screens limit the amount and type of information that can be displayed. There are limited storage capacities for mobiles and PDAs. Batteries have to be charged regularly, and data can be lost if this is not done correctly. They can be much less robust than desktops.

Disadvantages • • • • • • • • The limitations of m-learning are a combination of technical and education challenges. Some of these disadvantages may disappear as technology improves. Small mobile and PDA screens limit the amount and type of information that can be displayed. There are limited storage capacities for mobiles and PDAs. Batteries have to be charged regularly, and data can be lost if this is not done correctly. They can be much less robust than desktops (although tablet PCs are beginning to tackle this problem). It's difficult to use moving graphics, especially with mobile phones, although 3G and 4G will eventually allow this. It's a fast-moving market, especially for mobile phones, so devices can become out of date very quickly. Bandwidth may degrade with a larger number of users when using wireless networks

Concerns of researchers and distance students/tutors about M-learning: Researchers: The researchers are ardent to use mobile in learning environment: “Mobile devices have become the most conveniently used and portable learning platform for various educational purposes. The meaningful use of mobile technology in educational settings not just can motivate learners to be more

engaging and active in learning activities, but also can facilitate learners to generate better performance.”.. Jung-Chuan Yen & Ming-Puu Chen “Mobile phones have become very popular among students in universities and it can be very useful.However, some issues have to be taken in account in order to get pedagogically efficient applications. The limited capacity of the current mobile phones, small memory and little screens, makes necessary the design small applications, like the micro-modules.”.... Mayorga Toledano

Teachers and learners: Both teachers and learners in large university classes face challenges that can limit the achievement of intended learning outcomes. From a teacher’s perspective, large classes provide challenges in relation to the provision of an equitable learning experience across a cohort that can include students with widely varying background knowledge, previous experience, needs and expectations. From the students’ perspective learning in a large class often means being faced with a learning program where one size needs to fit all. It can mean having to work at a pace way beyond one’s ability or alternatively, at a pace and level way within one’s capability. The learning settings can be isolating spaces with minimal levels of interaction and engagement and limited opportunities for flexible and independent learning. There are also some Concerns such as increased temptation to steal phones belonging to the school was one worry and allowing pupils to access school emails via mobiles would also pose data security risks if passwords were shared. Other concerns related to cheating and taking inappropriate images or recordings of teachers.

• Case studies :
1- Empowering learners Mobile learning and teaching with PDAs Dewsbury College, Thomas Danby College and Bishop Burton College
Innovative solutions In Dewsbury College, staff have used web pages scaled down to fit the smaller screen of the PDA, with hyperlinks to video and audio files, to support a variety of learning preferences. At Thomas Danby College, PDAs have been used to provide formative assessment tests for basic skills learners. This method of delivery offers ‘drill for skill’

opportunities on demand, with immediate feedback and explanations from the tutor. Learners at Bishop Burton College have used PDAs for recording, storing and interpreting data in a vocational context. Key points for successful innovation • Funding will be needed for the development of resources, or use of in-house technologists with knowledge of different file formats to develop or convert existing resources for use on PDAs. Staff champions to advise practitioners on the use of small screen devices will encourage innovative and pedagogically sound uses of PDAs. Linking the use of PDAs to specific targets can ensure their acceptance by practitioners.

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Final word PDAs have been shown to be valuable in stimulating learners in environments that do not usually offer access to technology. They can support dynamic group activities without internet connectivity by the use of beaming, but like all new technologies. Some learners may not be able to use small screen devices successfully. Accessibility issues should always be considered and alternative routes provided. 2- M-learning: How Much of What Has Been Diffused? A Systematic Literature Review Ken Masters,, Köstendorf, Austria Introduction: Although a great number of m-learning exploratory and pilot projects have been documented, we need to examine the extent to which m-learning has diffused amongst education institutions. In other fields, this is performed by surveys and systematic literature reviews of surveys. The Aim of This Study Given the increasing activity in m-learning research and the need to measure the diffusion of this innovation, this study set out to perform a systematic literature review of m-learning surveys. The question to be answered was this: In mobile learning, how much of what has been diffused? Methods: After establishing acceptable inclusion and exclusion criteria, this study performed a systematic literature review of surveys detailing the use of m-learning beyond pilot and project phase.

Results: No results were usable. Is There no Diffusion At All? Of course, there is always the possibility that there is a lack of research, and also that there simply is no diffusion at all. Given the relative novelty of m-learning, it will have fewer references than e-learning, but not enough to explain these results. Critics of m-learning, however, will argue strongly that there is little verifiable and generalization data on m-learning. The authors found no evidence to support the belief that parachutes were effective. They did, however, offer a solution through common sense. In this study, we would like to believe that the lack of evidence indicating diffusion is not caused purely by the lack of research or diffusion, but primarily by the use of old terminology, and that these experiments, pilots and launches, have resulted in some growing use of m-learning, which is yet to be properly documented. Discussion and Conclusion: The problems lie in the terminology of research (which is currently focused on the technology rather than m-learning) and the emphasis on research detailing innovations. There is also the possibility of overall lack of research and diffusion, but this is uncertain. The time has come for m-learning to establish itself as a fully-fledged field, and to begin to measure its diffusion, especially at institutional and national levels.

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