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Surfing the Mobile Wave

July 10th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

Lately I have got excited about the potential of mobile devices for learning. Partly this is due to the accessibility of such devices and their growing functionality but more it is because of the potential of mobile devices to enable situated or contextual learning. Elearning until now, perhaps because of the domination of universities and to a lesser extent academic schools in implementing educational technology, elearning has focused on academic or disciplinary knowledge. Yet much of the knowledge we use is vocational or occupational in nature. Mobile applications can take advantage of different aspects of context. Of course this is a challenge to institutions, as well as for developers. I have been discussing these issues over the last four or five weeks with John Cook and Andrew Ravenscroft from London Metropolitan Univeristy.

And yesterday at the Jisc Instiutional Innovation conference, John Cook presented both ideas and examples of his work in this area. The abstract for his presentation read:

“How can learning activities that take place outside formal institutions, on platform of the learners choice, be brought into institutional learning? New digital media can be regarded as cultural resources that can enable the bringing together of the informal learning contexts in the world outside the institution with those processes and contexts that are valued inside the intuitions.The big problem is that reports show that Social Software and Google are not enabling the critical, creative and reflective learning that we value in formal education.”

Here are the slides from his presentation. And below you can find a podcast of his keynote.

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