Opportunities for students and teachers

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Introduction

‘This is an age of technology. We are working for convergence of technology for enhancing the quality of education,” Kamat(2009)

Wired technologies have been used by educators, school administrators, students, and others in higher education to help them teaching and learning. However, institutions of higher learning are moving towards the use of mobile wireless technologies. The movement of mobile wireless technologies in education is a recent trend, and it is now becoming the most popular technology in higher education (Levine, 2002) from this there must be a potential of wireless mobile learning devices to achieve large-scale impact on learning because of portability, low cost, and communications features.

For the past few years, educators and students in higher education have enjoyed the many benefits of wired technology. However, wired technology provides limited access for usage due to a lack of mobility. In other words, wired-technologies cannot provide anytime, anywhere functionality, a benefit now offered by mobile wireless technologies. The use of mobile wireless technologies can overcome the limitation of educational flexibility with wired technology. With the advantages of mobility, mobile wireless technologies help improve efficiency and effectiveness in teaching and learning (Maginnis, White, & Mckenna, 2000)

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Kozma, 2001; McKenzie, 2001) Mobile technologies are being used by teachers and students all around the world. Most students and teachers have access to mobile phones, Laptops, handheld gaming devices, PDF's, IPod, without knowing their full potential in education.

Many Educational systems are adapting to using mobile technologies. “The University of Limerick is to use SMS technology to inform up to 3,000 students annually that they have received a CAO (Central Applications Office) place in the college” Kennedy(2009) . Similarly in India the National Council of Educational Research and Training NCERT is set to launch mobile technology to enable teachers to get the latest know-how in the teaching domain. (Kamat 2009).

Naismith et al (2004) states that Information Technology can be used by the academic body for the roll call, calculating student results, full rights to the school database and files, and organising their daily schedules more productively. ‘In higher education, mobile devices provide course material to students, including due dates for assignments and information about timetable and room change' (Naismith et al, 2004)

Mahmood et al (2009) illustrates to the reader the various wireless mobile devices like Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), palmtops, laptops, notebook computers, tablet PCs and particularly, cell phones are being used in developed countries to deliver learning contents to the students. Mahmood et al (2009) states that mobile phones have as much computing power as the computers had a few years back. Now we can use software like MS Office, Acrobat Reader etc, once known to be used on computers only, on these devices. The evolution of the cellular technology has superseded the desktop computers. (Mahmood et al 2009)

Mahmood et al 2009) shows the reader how a group of researchers explored the use of SMS as a communication medium between teachers and students. They integrated the SMS text messaging feature into the existing e-learning management system of a university to communicate the undergrad students on a large scale. The Group found that SMS text messaging is a cost effective mechanism to convey the personalized information to learner's mobile phones in a timely fashion.

In this review paper, the author will look for various sources of literature to illustrate the various mobile technology opportunities for students and teachers in a learning environment.

Google image of mobile devices

Opportunities for Students and Teachers

‘Mobile and wireless technology devices and associated infrastructure creates opportunities for educational institutions teachers and students' Naismith et al (2004)

“Education as a process relies on a great deal of coordination of learners and resources. Mobile devices can be used by teachers for attendance reporting, reviewing student marks, general access of central school data, and managing their schedules more effectively. In higher education, mobile devices can provide course material to students, including due dates for assignments and information about timetable and room changes. Examples of using mobile technologies in this context include a mobile learning organiser which has been developed and tested at the University of Birmingham. Naismith et al (2004)

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Yordanova(2007)gives a great description of the various elements with informative simple diagram. He states the main elements of mobile learning are mobile technologies which are, mobile devices, wireless protocols, wireless language, and wireless applications. And they all allow mobile application (web sites, portals) to be designed and developed using wireless languages like Wireless Markup Language (WML) and wireless protocols like markup used in mobile phones with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). Yordanova(2007) ‘new forms of educational services and learning activities to be provided to mobile users using last achievements of technology enhancements like wearable computing technologies'

The ubiquity of this form of computing allows for the creation of huge opportunities to use these devices for general education in schools and at a higher level of education. This allows users to take control of these opportunities, there must be software applications specially designed for use with all mobile devices, which should not only appeal to mobile phone users, but also keep them interested once they begin using the applications.

Mobile Computer Collaborative Learning

Mobile devices provide us with the great opportunity to engage students in learning outside classrooms and comfort of their home. Miloš et al (2000)

Miloš et al (2000) some of his work is creation of educational and learning games that can be deployed on wearable mobile devices. The Paper describes a unique approach to educational game definition and interpretation. The Idea is based on the extraction of knowledge, game rules and scenarios outside the initial program which in turn enables its reusability. He also applied a layered approach to the interpretation of educational games he enabled the use of the same game on a range of devices and platforms. The aim of this was to extract learning from the classroom and provide a fun and interesting way of learning anytime, anywhere.

Google image of mobile learning

 ‘In a comprehensive review of the use of mobile technologies such as handheld computers, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Smartphone's in learning and teaching, Naismith et al. (2004) identified aspects of learning relevant to students' use of mobile devices in both formal and informal learning contexts. In order to help them evaluate the most relevant applications of mobile technologies in education they classified these aspects into six groups that could be used to describe the use of mobile devices with students. Four of these classifications are linked to types of learning theory:

Behaviourist, Constructivist, Situated, Collaborative,

Two relate more to context and application:

  • Informal and lifelong learning
  • Learning and teaching support

WISHART(2009) Gives a very accurate review of Naismith et al (2004)

Elements of m-learning and integration of wearable computing Yordanova (2007)

Mobile technology opens up opportunities for students to work collaboratively while they are in movement, rather than working with allocated partners at a fixed desktop. Students can move inside the classroom and interact with other students in any way that they need. In a MCSCL application it is possible to recognize the technological and the social network: they can communicate face-to-face or by means of the interconnected mobile computing devices. M.E. Lagos et al (2007). Zurita(2008) would have a similar view on MCSCL

Thornton (2006) presented three projects in mobile learning. First, he surveyed 333 Japanese third level students regarding their use of mobile devices. 100% reported ownership of a mobile phone. 99% reported sending email on their phones, up to some 200 email messages per week. 66% emailed fellow students about courses; 44% emailed for notes. In contrast, only 43% email on a computer, exchanging an average approximately 2 messages each week. Only 20% had used a Personal Digital Assistant. Secondly, he emailed the students a 100-word English vocabulary lessons during regular intervals to the phones and PDA's of 44 Japanese third level students, hoping to promote the spirit of regular study.

In comparison with students who were urged to study the identical materials on notes or online, it was found the students who received the mobile email messages had learned more (p<0.05). 71% of the students indicated that they preferred receiving lessons on their mobile phones rather than on a PCs. 93% felt this was a valuable teaching method. Thirdly, he created a e learning site explaining to the students, English idioms.

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The results of Thornton's poll indicated that a majority of Japanese students own and frequently use mobile phones. Students are very practiced at using the email functions of their phones but are less experienced at using the web and other newer features such as cameras and to-do lists. In terms of educational use, more than half of students are already using their mobile email to get information about classes and lectures. They would like to receive administrative information about classes on their mobile phones.

From reviewing Thornton(2004) it would seem that must students are adept of mobile technology and its only growing and developing at the moment. But will be here for a long time to come.

Cortez et al(2004) This paper Shows how's Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) having students working groups, in an environment of collaboration and exchange with their classmates (Collaborative Learning, CL), leads to better academic results.

CSCL systems make use of technology to control and monitor the interaction between the participants, hand out information, control assignments, rules and roles, and, finally, promote new knowledge acquisition. They software they used for this experience was implemented in a three-layered system:

Network layer: allows for information to be sent and received between the Handhelds in an efficient and controlled manner. Activity player: is responsible for providing tools and services for the integration of multimedia elements and software at the next layer. The activity player provides a structure and a collection of services over which applications can be developed. Activities: correspond to the final applications for the design of this system, two roles are distinguished: the teacher, who uses the master version of the software, and the students, who use the slave version. Cortez et al (2004)

Cortez et al (2004) Figure 1: System operating at schools

Teachers and students involved, and showed the technology to be a tool that can be used to improve the quality of education.

The MCSCL system created supports the teacher by allowing the knowledge transmitted by him to be more easily acquired and better taken advantage of by the students. One advantage of the MCSCL system is that it allows the students to use technology without losing direct contact with their teacher, due to the incorporation of wirelessly networked Handheld Computers into the classroom. Additionally, the students can take advantage of the natural mobility provided by the use of this technology to collaborate effectively in their work groups.

The current implementation of the collaboration tool is only a first step in bringing Mobile Education to the forefront. Collaborative learning combined with the advantages of mobility and electronic content will very likely improve the acquisition of knowledge, lower costs and advance the social skills of the students. Another topic is the implementation of new and enhanced features as I will discuss next, new and exciting Mobile Learning developments (Ryan 2005)

We are after witnessing the fastest ever rise in the usage of collaboration-ware style applications over the past few years. This is the result of the phenomena known as web 2.0, such applications and tools, blogging, podcasting and the use of wiki type mediums has been quickly picked up on by many professional fields such as those in the Health Industry and also in a large part by educational professionals. This is due to the ease of use associated with the above named, they are easy to deploy, easy to set up, easy to maintain and best of all easy to use. Another feature which has lead to a huge upsurge in their usage is also the factor that rich multimedia applications and objects can be added such as video from youtube and audio from itunes and other such sites. This is all part of the right here, right now attitude of the web and also enhances the web 2.0 experience. (Ryan 2005)

The development of multimedia has ages since its introduction, now with us over 2 decades, this rich use of such objects as audio, images, flash animations, movies etc in all fields of communication has now become a norm in all online communications and collaborations' that happen online. This has also been wrapped up with traditional education platforms such as encyclopaedia's and journals. (Ryan 2005)

However a downfall of some current methods of this marrying of rich multimedia to traditional educational forms is the deterioration of the end user experience on this platform. It is now understood that there needs to be a interaction process between the end user and the software designer so as to maximise the full user experience be in in office or field based software. This method needs to create a bridge between the developer and user so as to understand the uses and possible pitfalls of design flaws. (Ryan -2005)

The development of MCSCL for usage in a mobile device is strongly advocated by (Cortes , Naismith et al, 2004), this envisages the replacement of certain actions by making the device interface and input/export more initiative to the normal actions applied within human communication. This will require further development of the device in its current state so as to support this new phase in educational and development promotion and advancement in align with other fields of development.

MOBILE BLOGGING

KAYWA is a blog which is useable from the internet and from a mobile device at the same time.Students and Teachers can put memory in their pockets: they can be shared, communicate and interact wherever you are, whenever you want. This review discusses the details of the architecture, design, and acceptability of the system formed to sustain mobile blogging, called SmartBlog.

In the field of learning, Mobile Blogs or “moblogs” may be an instrument to capitalize on the new technological, social and cultural breakthrough of “ubiquitous” mediaFischer(2005)

This Diagram Fischer(2005) shows is illustrating convergence mobile internet at work:

Fisher(2005) tries to see if Mobile Blogs can be an administered to take advantage on the new technological, social and cultural breakthrough of “ubiquitous” media. Fisher shows that when a blog gets mobile, more opportunities to learn, to share and to connect are offered to students and teachers. He also notes that mobile phones are the evolution of mobile phones and the habits of mobile phone users make text and images in some situations more attractive than speech.

Having shown the impact blogs had on traditional media, it's probable to predict that blogs - together with other social software tools - will also change how we think about learning. Traditional learning institutions should be well aware of these new developments unless they want to lose ground and finally sink into oblivion.Fisher(2009)

Fisher(2009) illustrates the usage of web blogs how they work and affect educational systems and students using them. He also mentioned the importance of the comments functionality as well as the mobile portal, important to keep in touch and to interact with peers and friends.

Porting blogs unto mobile devices offers new advanced ways of learning and gives the learner options he never had before - he can now access his knowledge anywhere and anytime and keep in contact with peers and coaches. Taking as example the mobile version of the KAYWA weblogs, I tried to offer insights about the difference between a blog on the internet and on a mobile device.

Conclusion

This study aimed to investigate the learning effects of a mobile system in a collaborative learning model as well as to explore the learning behaviour of mobile students. I highlighted the importance of mobility and educational applications in a collaborative learning environment. I found that the mobile systems can provide an authentic learning example and help to solve the coordination issue in a collaborative learning environment. In addition, the developed mobile system established a mobile-based learning environment which brings students a similar manipulation of web-based education systems in daily life and ties no position and time limitations to study.

Technology that supports the development of academic activity should be deployed according to the concerned issue of the activity. By the reflection of students' learning outcomes, mobility and MCSCL applications bring them an unlimited discussion space so that they can learn in a more free and easy manner.

It is obvious to me that after reviewing this topic, that mobile technology greatly enhances opportunities for teachers and students. There is so much various forms of mobile technologies in existence, I could only briefly touch on a few

Mobile Technology is at the forefront of the new wave in educational developments as I have shown throughout this review. Its constant evolution and progression is un-wavered since the foundation of the theoretical aspects of its delivery.

References:

Cortez et al (2004)Teaching Science with Mobile Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (MCSCL) IEEE

Fisher (2005) Micro learning with Mobile Weblogs.ACM

Kamat,(2009 New Delhi, Online edition of India's National Newspaper:Monday,Feb23,2009, http://www.thehindu.com/edu/2009/02/23/stories/2009022350900500.htm

Kennedy,(2009) ( UL to use SMS to deliver college offers to 3,000 students,13.08.2009 URL http://www.siliconrepublic.com/news/article/13611/comms/ul-to-use-sms-to-deliver-college-offers-to-3-000-students

Lagos et al “Interaction-Based Design for Mobile Collaborative-Learning Software”, Software IEEE, 2007, 24(4), 80-89 ACM

Levine, L.M. (2002, October). Campus-wide mobile wireless: Mobility and

convergence. Syllabus. ACM

Maginnis, F., White, R., & Mckenna, C. (2000, November/December).

Customers on the move: m-Commerce demands a business object broker

approach to EAI. eAI Journal, 58-62 ACM.

Mahmood et al (2009) Integrating M-Learning with E-Learning ACM

Miloš et al (2009) Mobile educational game: adventure anywhere ACM

Naismith et al (2004)Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning FUTURELAB SERIES URL:www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/lit_reviews/Mobile_Review.pdf

Ryan et al (2005) Field-Based mLearning: Who Wants What? Software Technology Research Centre Dundalk Institute of Technology, ACM

Sharples et al (2005) Towards a Theory of Mobile Learning. ACM

Thornton et al (2004) Using Mobile Phones in Education 4 IEEE International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education (WMTE'04) IEEE

Wishart (2009) Use of Mobile Technology for Teacher Training IEEE

Yordanova Korneliya,(2007) International Conference on Computer Systems and Technologies - CompSysTech'07 Mobile learning and integration of advanced technologies in education ACM

Zurita ( 2008 ) Supporting rich interaction in the classroom with mobile devices. ACM

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