Engaging Students with Mobile Technologies to Support Their Formal and Informal Learning

Engaging Students with Mobile Technologies to Support Their Formal and Informal Learning

Melanie Ciussi (CERAM Business School, France), Gill Rosner (CERAM Business School, France) and Marc Augier (CERAM Business School, France)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/jmbl.2009090805

Abstract

This article explores “Y generation” students’ attitudes to mobile technologies in the context of education, and use of podcasts on their handhelds in particular. Our intention is to investigate how students use mobile devices to support their formal and informal learning practices. One of the “big issues” in mobile learning that we address here is the co-existence of personal informal learning and traditional classroom education. After conducting an experiment and a survey, we conclude that the diversity of student attitudes toward using podcasts in education means that we are in the time of “in between years.” Learning “any time/anywhere” and “digital natives” prove to be a myth for many. The current challenge for podcasting in education is to move from information transmission to knowledge construction and sharing within a formal setting.
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The Added Value Of Mobile Devices

It is undeniable that mobile devices give added accessibility to resources. Information which once required access to a library, classroom or even an office with a computer, is now available in your hand anytime and anywhere you want it (McFarlane, 2009). Learning materials can now be constantly updated in real time. Students can access the latest version of these at the time and place relevant for them. Learning can even be delivered “just in time.” Instead of preparing a complete set of knowledge (a book for example) and sending it only when the whole picture is set up, mobile technologies allow us to send small pieces of knowledge, as soon as it is available, as soon as the student needs it to progress. Does this herald a revolution in educational delivery analogous to that which the mobile phone brought to our idea of using the telephone?

Mobile devices also facilitate access to internet services and social networks, so they have the potential to increase our students’ exposure to information about almost any topic under the sun. This could mean business topics, items of personal interest, or languages, where exposure almost certainly increases listening comprehension and vocabulary. Interpersonal communication, whether with friends, colleagues, professors or total strangers is also facilitated. However, this huge increase in quantity of information and interpersonal contact may not be matched by an increase in quality.

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