Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mobile Technologies in Open Schools

I did a small research and editing work entitled "Mobile Technologies in Open Schools" for the Commonwealth of Learning in 2009. The full publication can be downloaded. As a quick recap, I post here the guidelines I proffer for successful use of mobile technologies in teaching-learning situations, particularly in Open Schools.

Mobile technologies:

  • are accessible to learners (it is increasing at a faster rate);
  • are cheap and affordable (less costly for both institutions and learners);
  • are useful for numerous teaching functions (and are useful in learner support);
  • are interactive and therefore, improves two-way communication at a distance and reduces the transactional distance between the leaner and the teacher (also educational institution). They are easy to use and user friendly.;
  • are so pervasive and simple that they would require less organizational preparedness;
    have novelty value, as it is the latest technology trend (and can motivate both teachers and learners to use); and
  • provide the highest speed (quickness) in terms of access to latest information and knowledge from anywhere, anytime.

However, as the field is growing, in spite of huge amount of literature availability, institutions take unknown journey in the filed on m-learning due to lack of models to emulate. As in any technological innovations, the initial cost is high for mobile learning, and appropriate funding should be worked out in the beginning for the system to be successful. Though every institution will have their specific requirements, I propose “PICTURE this” as a set of guidelines for taking context specific decisions to implement the use of appropriate mobile technology.

P – plan purposefully
I – identify learners’ needs
C – choose media
T – technology implementation
U – user manuals
R – run the system
E – evaluate performance and outcomes

And at the end, I emphasise: “Training has in-built success!”

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