In a world that is increasingly mobile and connected, the nature of information resources is changing. The new information is networked, unlimited, fluid, multimodal, and overwhelming in quantity. Digital technologies, such as mobile phones, wireless handheld devices, and the Internet, provide access to a wide range of resources and tools, anywhere and anytime. This type of access and connectivity has also had an impact on how we collaborate on projects and share media and therefore, greatly increases opportunities to learn inside and outside institutionalized school systems. Learners now have the tools to take learning beyond classrooms and the school day.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Informal Learning: Learning in which both goals and processes of learning are defined by the learner, and where the learning is situated rather than preestablished.
Bluetooth: An industrial specification for wireless personal area networks (PANs). Bluetooth allows devices to connect and exchange information over a secure, globally unlicensed short-range radio frequency.
WiFi: Short for “wireless fidelity” and a popular term for a high-frequency wireless local area network (WLAN), using the 802.11 protocol.
UMPC: Ultra mobile personal computer. A small form-factor tablet PC (larger than a PDA but smaller than a tablet PC) that features a touch screen no larger than 7 inches, flexible navigation and input options, and WiFi connectivity.
Mobile Phone: A portable electronic device for personal telecommunications over long distances, often supplemented by features such as instant messaging, Internet and e-mail access, global positioning (GPS), and a digital camera. Most mobile phones connect to a cellular network.
M-Learning: “The processes of coming to know through conversations across multiple contexts amongst people and personal interactive technologies” ( Sharples, Taylor, & Vavoula, 2007 ).
PDA: Personal digital assistant. A handheld computing device that is characterized by a touch screen, a memory card slot and Infrared, Wi-Fi, and/or Bluetooth for connectivity. Data can be synchronized between PDAs and desktop or laptop computers.
GPS: Global positioning system. It consists of a receiver that uses three or more GPS satellites to calculate its location.
Highly Mobile Devices: Digital devices that have high mobility, a small footprint, computational and display capabilities to view, collect, or otherwise use representations and/or large amounts of data; and the ability to support collaboration and/or data sharing. Devices include PDAs, mobile phones, some tablet computers, networked graphing calculators, UMPCs, the new generation of handheld gaming systems, iPods, motes, and data loggers.