Mobile 2.0: Crossing the Border into Formal Learning?

Mobile 2.0: Crossing the Border into Formal Learning?

John Pettit (The Open University, UK) and Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (The Open University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-294-7.ch010
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Abstract

Many practitioners are looking for ways to bring the vitality of Mobile 2.0—for example, social networking via a mobile phone (cellphone), or photo sharing on a mobile blog—into formal learning and teaching. But they face a complex and even paradoxical challenge: how can they harness that vitality without stifling its most distinctive feature—the fact that it is user led? This chapter begins with an analysis of that paradox as a foundation for understanding the challenges that practitioners face now and in the future. Drawing on data from interviews with six experienced tertiary practitioners, the authors describe and analyze a number of examples that point to the particular power of mobile devices to blur formal and informal activity in people’s lives. The aim is to look beyond the hype around innovations in mobile devices and connectivity to focus on the opportunities for practitioners to bend the arc of Mobile 2.0 to the needs of their learners.
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Ownership In Tertiary Education

The metaphor of the two territories with which the chapter opened is, of course, an over-simplification. The differences are not so stark or the border so clear, and this chapter seeks to explore a more nuanced understanding of how Mobile 2.0 can enrich formal learning. Nevertheless, there is a sense that tertiary education has been seriously challenged by the phenomenon of Web 2.0/Mobile 2.0, where users generate and share content and have considerable ownership.

This has happened at a time when mobile devices—whether handhelds, or portables such as laptops—have arrived on campus largely on the learners’ own terms. These devices support what one report, based on a study in 2006 of over 400 “technology-savvy” UK students, described as an “underworld of communication and information-sharing invisible to tutors” (Conole & Creanor, 2007, p. 11). The use of “underworld” here is not so much sinister as making the point that these students, who indicate one likely future for tertiary education, use their own devices in their own ways to support their learning.

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