Mobile Literacies: Learning in the Mobile Age

Mobile Literacies: Learning in the Mobile Age

Daniel Novak (University of Washington, USA) and Minjuan Wang (San Diego State University, USA & Shanghai International Studies University, China)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch033
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

The ubiquity of Internet-capable mobile devices in the lives of people around the world has given rise to new learning practices that occur in an increasingly complex digital ecosystem. Mobile learning enables teachers to deliver instructional materials to a student when they need them, at points where the relevance and value of the knowledge are highest. In this chapter, the authors examine how the trend toward ubiquity of mobile and digital technologies has converged with changes in research paradigms in Education to produce a new approach to mobile learning design. This ‘mobile literacies' approach extends from contemporary thinking on mobile learning, cognitive science, the New Literacies, and instructional systems design. The chapter provides a design heuristic for ensuring attention to the important facets of the design of materials that take advantage of new opportunities for ‘learning in the mobile age.'
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Over the last decade, consumer access to mobile phones has increased to the point where there are nearly as many mobile device subscriptions on the planet as there are people (International Telecommunications Union, 2013). The ubiquity of Internet-capable mobile devices in the lives of people around the world has given rise to new learning practices that occur in an increasingly complex digital ecosystem. Mobile learning enables teachers to deliver instructional materials to a student when they need them, at points where the relevance and value of the knowledge are highest. To achieve the promised benefits of mobile learning, instructional designers and developers will need guidelines for designing mobile learning systems and materials effectively. It is also important for instructional designers to master the skills required “to design multimedia messages that promote meaningful learning” (Mayer & Moreno, 2002, p.107). This article will examine the work of leading experts such as Dr. John Traxler (2009) at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK, Dr. James Gee (2011) of Arizona State University, and Dr. Aaron Doering (Doering, Veletsianos, Scharber, & Miller, 2009) at the University of Minnesota.

Current knowledge in the field of mobile message design comes from a number of sources, including theories of learning, perception, and communications theory. Early research in this area (Wang & Shen, 2012) defined some of the formal characteristics of mobile learning such as captioning and font sizing, and offers guidelines for understanding the uses of particular constellations of mobile technologies. Other projects investigated psychological and pedagogical properties of mobile learning experiences, such as cognitive load and inquiry-based learning (Shih, Chuang, & Hwang, 2010). Further, many of the findings on cognition and eLearning, as presented by Clark and Mayer (2011), are applicable to learning with mobile devices.

In this chapter, we will present a brief examination of the new developments in the field of the Learning Sciences, and how these developments have opened new possibilities for the design of mobile learning experiences. We aim to expand the definitions of mobile learning message design to account for the growing presence of mobile Internet access in the lives of learners. We argue for the treatment of mobile learning as a fundamentally new form of literacy that is situated in the social fabric of the learner, enabled by technology, and supportive of spontaneous learning. As we propose in this chapter, mobile learning has evolved into a new phase of research that we call ‘mobile literacy.’ For the purposes of this discussion, mobile literacy may be defined as a system of meaning-making wherein learners use mobile technologies to achieve their goals and communicate with others in their communities of interest. This definition removes the study of mobile learning from a focus on a particular technology and places the focus on how people learn and achieve their goals through the use of mobile technologies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Literacy: A system for encoding and decoding symbols, text, images, video, or other modalities for the purposes of expressing meaning to other people.

Domain: An area of content knowledge that is relevant to a learner’s goals, and is scaffolded by the mobile technology system. Domains (such as history, chemistry, literature, etc.) structure their discourse and knowledge in unique ways that require consideration during design.

Mobile Learning Message Design: The manipulation and planning of signs and symbols that can be produced for the purpose of modifying the cognitive, affective or psychomotor behaviour of one or more persons.

Modality: The specific features of a medium. In the context of mobile learning, this refers to affordances such as portability, multimedia support, and pervasive Internet access.

Mobile Literacy: A system of meaning-making that uses mobile technologies to help learners achieve their goals and communicate with their affinity groups.

New Literacies: A broad area of new research in the field of literacy, the New Literacies focus on the role of digital technologies in the process of communication, learning, and meaning-making in formal and informal contexts.

Pedagogy: Models of teaching and learning model that scaffolds the learning experience for learners as they engage with the content and modality via their mobile devices.

Discourse: Procedural and structural ways of presenting knowledge to others that invites understandings of shared meanings.

Affinity Groups: Social knowledge sharing communities that arise around specific topics, genres, and modalities that support learners’ goals, and often lead to creative new approaches to learning.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset