Rapid technology change is here to stay.
article by Diane Shawe M.Ed CEO Academy of Vocational and Professional Training.
No sense in trying to change the way the world wants to learn. Access to broadband, smartphone, the growth of the mobile tablet has changed the face of how we access knowledge.
But rather than simply program designers and consumers–or even ecological threats–this kind of change also introduces significant threats or should we say opportunities to education. Throughout the Industrialised delivery of education, there is likely very little that can be actively done to reduce the perceived threats by many faculty heads, especially as the advancement is firstly driven by economic issues. But we can begin to understand them better and view them as opportunities.
As learning practices and technology tools change, mobile learning itself will continue to evolve. For 2013, the focus is on a variety of challenges, from how learners access content to how the idea of a “curriculum” is defined.
The rapid growth of Technology like tablets, smartphones, apps, and access to broadband internet are lubricating the shift to mobile learning, but a truly asynchronous mobile learning environment goes beyond the tools for learning to the lives and communities valued by each individual learner.
It is only within these communities that the native context of each learner can be fully understood. Here, in these communities that are both local and digital, a ”need to learn” is born, knowledge accrues incrementally, progress resonates naturally, and a full picture of each learner as a human being fully emerges as we embark on the true essence of Life Long Learning.
1. Access – Aids voluntary and active learning
A mobile learning environment is about access to content, peers, experts, portfolio artifacts, credible sources, and previous thinking on relevant topics. It can be actuated via a smartphone or tablet, laptop or in-person, but access is constant–which in turn shifts a unique burden to learn on the shoulders of the student.
2. Metrics – Performance of Knowledge
As mobile learning is a blend of the digital and physical, diverse metrics (i.e., measures) of understanding and “performance of knowledge” will be available. It is important that mobile learning supplies and validate that learning has taken place.
3. Cloud – Increased collaboration
The cloud is the enabler of “smart” mobility. With access to the cloud, all data sources and project materials are constantly available, allowing for previously inaccessible levels and styles of revision and collaboration. This also reduces the burden of data storage in the immediate device enabling speed of access to be maintained. Also no complex disaster recovery procedures.
Transparency is the natural by product of connectivity, mobility, and collaboration. As planning, thinking, performance, evaluation and reflection are both mobile and digital, they gain an immediate audience with both local and global communities through social media platforms from twitter to facebook, linkedin to Pinterest.
5. Play – Learning by doing
Play is one of the primary characteristics of authentic, progressive learning, both a cause and effect of an engaged mind. In a mobile learning environment learners are encountering a dynamic and often unplanned set of data, domains, and collaborators, changing the tone of learning from academic and compliant to personal and playful means that soft skills training is becoming even more apparent.
6. Asynchronous Learning
Among the most powerful principles of mobile learning is asynchronous access. This unbolts an educational environment from a school floor and allows it to move anywhere, anytime in pursuit of truly entrepreneurial learning. It also enables a learning experience that is increasingly personalised: just in time, just enough, just for me reducing the length of time one can qualify.
With asynchronous access to content, peers, and experts comes the potential for self-actuation. Here, learners plan topic, sequence, audience, and application via facilitation of teachers who now act as experts of resource and assessment.
8. Divergent Thinking
With mobility comes diversity. As learning environments change constantly, that fluidity becomes a norm that provides a stream of new ideas, unexpected challenges, and constant opportunities for revision and application of thinking. Audiences are diverse, thinking is diverse, as are the environments data is being gleaned from by both the student and the teacher.
9. Curation – Evidence storage and Management
Apps and mobile devices can not only support curation, but can do so better than even the most efficient teacher might hope to do. By design, these technologies adapt to learners, store files, compare and evaluate, publish thinking, and connect learners, making curation a matter of process rather than ability.
10. Blending the Learning Styles
A mobile learning environment will always represent a much better path to the whole concept of blended learning. –physical movement, personal communication, Learning styles and digital interaction.
11. Always-On – Classroom never full
Always-on 24hr learning is self-actuated, spontaneous, iterative, and recursive. There is a persistent need for information access, cognitive reflection, and interdependent function through mobile devices. It is also embedded in communities capable of intimate and natural interaction with students.
12. Authentic Learning
All of the previous 11 principles yield an authenticity to learning that is impossible to reproduce in a classroom using the industrialised teaching methods. They ultimately converge to enable experiences that are truly personalised changing the way we think about learning and teaching.