An Emerging Field
Today mobile technologies such as cell phones are widespread and multifunctional, mobile broadband coverage has improved considerably in recent years and smartphones are combining more and more capabilities – ranging from telecommunication and video capturing to personal information management (Livingston, 2004); this important characteristic is referred to as convergence in the literature (Pachler, Bachmair, & Cook, 2010). At the same time costs for telecommunication have been decreasing (compare e.g., European Statistics Eurostat, 2008). Mobiles – such as the iPhone – were identified in recent Horizon Reports (2009, 2010) as the technologies with the highest likelihood of entry into the mainstream of learning-focused institutions within the next year. Whereas mobile devices have become more and more embedded in the life worlds of learners, schools have mostly not considered them as cultural resources (Pachler, 2009; Pachler, Bachmair, & Cook, 2010). Similarly, companies seem to be hesitant acknowledge the potential of mobile technologies for learning (Härtel et al., 2007) despite the high penetration of mobile devices also in the business environments (Dzartevska, 2009).
In line with the spreading of mobile technologies, mobile learning is a rapidly expanding field of research (see e.g., Vavoula, Pachler, & Kukulska-Hulme, 2009). Its growing importance is reflected, for example, in the rising number of conferences , journals and books . A number of mobile learning projects have been piloted in schools and institutions of Higher Education (see e.g., http://www.moleap.net; for a state of the art analysis of mobile projects compare e.g., Frohberg, 2006; Frohberg et al., 2009; Pachler, Bachmair, & Cook, 2010; Seipold & Pachler, 2010). Some projects have been also conducted and researched in business contexts (see e.g., Pimmer & Gröhbiel, 2008; Pachler, Pimmer, & Seipold, forthcoming).