“Learning that happens across location, or that takes advantage of learning opportunities offered by portable technologies” (Wikipedia Definition)
Mobile learning is based on the development of technology that is now available for students to use. The types of technology that are used in class have evolved from televisions and overhead projectors to IWB, digital cameras, computers and iPods’. Most students in classrooms today have their own/or access to a mobile phone, iPod and computer which give them a significant amount of experience and knowledge in using these items.
Mobile learning supports the constructivist approach of learning allowing the students maximum interaction, collaborative learning and building their own knowledge and understanding of the topic. Students are now exposed to a new type of learning that involves handheld devices and using applications specifically designed for different tasks.
Mobile learning has many benefits such as:
- Student engagement
- Preparation for using technology in the real world
- Improves communication with teachers, students and parents
- Motivated students and higher participation
Some teachers and parents have some concerns in relation to using this type of ICT in class, such as:
- Students become distracted
- Harder to monitor the students work
- Not all students will have mobile devices/access
- Cheating may increase
- The curriculum must also support the use of these devices
- May result in cyber bullying
Mobile learning is a useful and successful way of increasing student participation and creating learning experiences that students can relate to and feel confident in doing. It does however have some disadvantages as mentioned, that teachers would need to address or at least attempt to address if mobile learning using different ICT resources is going to be successful in the classroom.
The advantages of mobile learning, if carried out correctly, can have a significant impact on the student’s academic achievement because it specifically caters to their needs as a whole generation that is the most technology savvy and competent. Within the use of this technology it also has specific elements that will cater to the three main learning styles for example: images for visual learners, audio and sound for auditory learners and the ability to manipulate the technology and its applications for kinaesthetic learners. This is why mobile learning and ICT resources should be encouraged and implemented in schools.