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What is Mobile Learning?
Once unimaginable, mobile learning, also known as m-learning, is the use of a mobile device in the classroom and is on the rise in colleges, universities and schools across the United States and the world. Even young students are using mobile devices for learning.
Popular in the business sector, it is now reasonable to think m-learning is feasible at all levels of education. The implications for the future of learning are great with the use of mobile devices in the classroom. No longer will we hear the professor saying, "please turn your cellphones off," but "please turn your cellphones on!"
Mobile devices, also known as handheld devices, have many names. A few examples are iPhones, Smartphones, pocket PCs, Palms, and iPod touch. In m-learning, learning and dissemination of information is essentially the same as with a laptop, the mode of delivery is just a little smaller, making it a very practical and user friendly device to use for the busy adult learner. Essentially it is learning in your pocket. Learning goes where you go.
With the freedom that handheld devices provide, we are becoming more and more of a transient society. Groups that may benefit most from m-learning are military personnel, those who travel for their jobs, and even moms who are busy running errands with the kids. Even elementary students, the next generation of e-learners will be using iPhones in the near future in schools across America.
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Uses of Mobile Devices
In general in any way a computer can be used in a classroom, so can handheld PCs. Potential ways mobile devices may be used in the online classroom is growing and may even include more than these in the future:
- Homework assignments
- Course Announcements
- Downloaded podcasts of lectures
- Access of college services
- Access to the professors profile and contact information
- Location of grades
- Access to school email
- Resources- dictionaries, encyclopedias
- Course outline- retrieved prior to class for student preparation before class
- Library services
- Mobile calendars
- Collaboration/group projects
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ACU (Abilene Christian University) became the first university to distribute iPods and iPhones to it's incoming freshman class in the fall of 2008. Since then the university has won the 2008 Campus Technology Recognition for its innovation in mobile technology.
AIU (American Intercontinental University) uses mobile learning as well. You can watch videos on their website of the features you can use with your mobile device. You can also view a list of mobile devices that are compatible with their m-learning environment.
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) offers many courses on mobile phones.
Ohio State University- College of Medicine- began using iPod touch for medical students to use for studies and patient care in 2008
University of Michigan- professors Elliot Soloway and Cathleen Norris developed, GoKnow! Educating the Mobile Generation
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To learn more about mobile learning, and the advantages and disadvantages of M-Learning, read an informative article by Bright Hub author, Preetam Kaushik.