Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning

I’m interested in Mobile and Ubiquitous Learning. Very interested. As a matter of fact, I plan on making it a central part of my persona research while I am here at IU. The idea didn’t hit me until I was sitting on the bus, and looked up how to cook something for dinner that night did I realize I was participating in informal learning through my mobile device. That got me thinking…I hold most of the information in the word in the palm of my hand (so long as I have access to some sort of network to access the internet, anyway).

How cool is that? Almost anything I want to know, I can find out at the touch of a button. Instant communication with anyone I want, and the potential (though not always the ability to) remove myself from the network at whim by just turning the device off (if I did that with my mother, she would kill me, but how many of us have not turned a phone off to avoid an annoying ex?). Combine the access to information with Augmented Reality, and we have a truly powerful learning device – Where not only can I FIND information about what I am interested in, I can See and/or hear it as if it were happening – I can add photos of what downtown Manhattan looked like 100 years ago from a particular spot by using AR.

But what will mobile learning do to education?> I wonder if it will change how and what we teach. When I was sitting as an undergrad in my history class, I thought to myself “this is stupid. I can find this stuff out online or in the book. Why do I need to memorize this information?” Well, now some will say “I have access to it all the time, anywhere. Why memorize formula, dates, people, events?

Will this change instruction?

Will this change how humans process and store information?

Will this change how we interact with each other?

I’m thrilled, and yet I am so very scared as to what could happen.

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2 Comments on “Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning”


  1. What kind of research will you engage in with mobile learning? What parts are scary? Mobile learning is one of the biggest leaps I see for the future. I think within a decade we won’t even be able to speak of a “digital divide” because of the lower cost power of mobile learning. I work mostly with people in developing countries. While not all have access to computers, most do have telephones that are capable of at least basic Internet searching. So I see that the change in instruction will come in the form of knowing what tools are available to get the job done. I see us moving more into apprencticeship models (love situated cognition BTW!!!) and as educators we will be like the Jedi Masters who train to choose wisely the tools and use them with tempered diligence.

    And thus I reveal my true inner geek…..

    • brhoey Says:

      I’ve done some looking into the various ed psych theories that relate to mobile learning, and right now I’m doing a literature review on Mobile Learning to support Problem-Based Inquiry (or Problem Based Learning?).

      The lower SES benefits are enormous, because the technology can be cheap. Even devices that people ion affluent countries no longer want can be donated and used for developing countries to open up access to information…provided the network is there to support it.

      The scary part? This change to mobile and, more importantly ubiquitous learning, will fundamentally alter how teachers teach, and what teachers teach. Such broad changes that are inevitable are exciting, yet scary!


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