Mobile Technology and its Applications in Instructional Conversation

Mobile Technology and its Applications in Instructional Conversation

Jason Caudill (Independent Consultant, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-054-7.ch068
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Abstract

Mobile learning (m-learning) is the most recently developed category of electronic learning (e-learning), both of which are valuable tools in instructional conversation. What makes m-learning unique, and thus deserving of its study as an independent concept, is mobility; learners have the opportunity to go not just beyond the classroom, but beyond the limits of desktop and even laptop computers to engage in instructional environments. As an independent concept, m-learning has its own hardware and network technology, as well as a relationship with and difference from e-learning. As a component of instructional conversation, m-learning provides learners with opportunities to engage in discussion from almost any location at any time, making the conversations much more natural and beneficial to the group. M-learning technology is, to support the uniqueness of the discipline, mobile. Devices that people carry on a regular basis and can access at almost any location are what drive m-learning practice. Working in concert with these devices is mobile networking technology, which provides the mobile learner with access to instructional material from a wide variety of locations and frees them from being tied to a cabled network connection at a static location. Given that m-learning is using modern technology to achieve its goals, it is reasonable to associate m-learning with e-learning, and this is entirely correct. M-learning can in many ways be viewed either as an extension of e-learning or as a specific component of e-learning. While a discussion of detailed definitions will come later, it is important to recognize that entering into m-learning is not a departure from e-learning; the practitioner is simply adding new tools to their box. There are four main objectives of this chapter, all of which relate to preparing instructional conversation practitioners to integrate m-learning into their teaching. The first of these objectives is to gain knowledge of m-learning hardware. As with any technical application, learning the available tools is a critical first step in applying them. Second, readers should gain knowledge of m-learning networking. As will be explored, hardware mobility is of little use without a mobility of information, and information mobility is enabled by mobile networking. Third, readers will gain an understanding of the relationship of m-learning to e-learning which will provide them with a base from which to launch their own mlearning applications. Fourth, readers will review current applications of m-learning technology in the field of instructional conversation to provide examples of how to apply their new knowledge of m-learning to their own instructional conversation environments.

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