Empowered Learner Identity Through M-Learning: Representations of Disenfranchised Students’ Perspectives

Empowered Learner Identity Through M-Learning: Representations of Disenfranchised Students’ Perspectives

Ruth Wallace (Charles Darwin University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2139-8.ch017
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Abstract

E-learning has been promoted as a key component of improving educational access and opportunity internationally, but for disenfranchised learners, many forms of e-learning are just as alien as the educational systems they have rejected. M-learning utilises technologies, activities and social systems that are integrated into many people’s lives, including those who have had limited access to, or rejected, formal education systems. This paper discusses projects conducted in Northern Australia that explored a range of e-tools to support indigenous students’ engagement and recognition of their knowledge and contexts. Mobile learning tools emerged as the preferred way to learn throughout the project. This approach challenges educational institutions to connect to students’ lives and contexts. This paper shows how participants utilised m-learning to demonstrate their diverse knowledge systems, the decisions they made about representing knowledge though m-learning, and the implications for trainers and assessors.
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Introduction

E-learning … offers the opportunities for different modes of interaction involving many more people from diverse cultural backgrounds. This involves a new set of literacies (Bowles, 2001, p. 102) and relationships with learning and technologies. Approaches to learning that build on strong relationships with technologies increasingly utilise mobile technologies, and these mobile learning tools have been taken up by many disenfranchised learners and are located in their own contexts. An exploration of a project conducted with Indigenous learners in remote Northern Australian communities found that m-learning was a powerful tool in recognising knowledge and building people’s confidence in themselves as learners. For many learners, m-learning has the potential to include a range of people previously disenfranchised from the education system as their ways of knowledge structures are not reflected in the mainstream system and lack of access to appropriate infrastructure is not recognised. This paper reports on an m-learning based approach that involved Indigenous people in the development of ways of learning that recognize learners’ knowledge and skills, as well as the co-production of knowledge that address the skill and qualification gaps that need to be overcome to gain successful employment outcomes. This paper explores the constructs of mobile learning utilised and reflects on the outcomes of the project as a form of social learning that engages learners and their worlds.

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