Defining Mobile Technologies
Mahruf, C., Shohel, C., & Power, T. (2010) have turned to several sources to define “mobile learning ... as ‘any educational provision where the sole or dominant technologies are handheld or palmtop devices’ (Traxler, 2005), which is available ‘anywhere, anytime’ (Geddes, 2004).
In other words, learning mediated through any mobile device that is accessible anywhere anytime is mobile learning (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008). Mobile technology can be used to increase access to authentic teaching and learning materials that could be used at a time convenient to teachers, such as when they are preparing lesson plans or while travelling to school (Shohel & Banks, 2010; Shohel & Shrestha, 2010).”
Cell phones are increasingly becoming one of the mobile devices of choice. Through assisted programs, low income students are able to obtain this type of mobile device and utilize this device for instruction. One study in Sri Lanka found cell phones to even be an effective tool for teacher training on mobile integration based on “their reported competence in using mobile phone functions and their positive attitude towards the use of mobile phones as shown in their responses to an earlier questionnaire survey” (Ekanayake and Wishart, 2011b).
Quinn (2016) states that Chromebooks are laptops designed to solely run Google’s own lightweight operating system” (p. 92). By using Google chrome as the operating system and utilizing the myriad of Google apps, students and teachers are provided with “the digital tools required to aid their learning, and teachers with the opportunity to enhance their content delivery” (Quinn, 2016, p. 92). The additional benefit of the Chromebook devices is the boot up time. By quickly booting, instructional time is not lost due to a cumbersome boot and operating system.
Mayberry and Hargis (2012) are quoted as saying they have “determined that using a device such as the iPod Touch, faculty members can embed useful low threshold learning and engage in meaningful scholarship of teaching and learning. Effective meaningful teaching with mobile technology is underpinned by developing intersecting knowledge of teaching, the technology, and the content” in the Cathy, 2013 article.
According to Larson, (2015), “Kindles have been steadily increasing in use for children’s use of e-books and digital reading devices.” While e-book reading is not a new phenomenon, its current popularity among children, coupled with the greater availability of digital texts and more affordable reading devices, warrant a reminder to effectively integrate e-books to support reading instruction. Along with a growing number of children reading e-books, recent advancements in tablet and e-book technologies allow enhanced literacy experiences among students (Larson, 2013).
Tablets have some of the same functionality of the iPad, but functions as a regular PC.
Connectivity to the internet is critical using a mobile device and reliance on a “hot spot” for wireless access can become a hindrance to the use of this type of mobile device.
Students are easily able to collaborate using their mobile devices. Sharing information is simple using collaboration apps. Using mobile devices allows for collaboration outside of the classroom.
Communication with all stakeholders becomes easy with mobile devices. Applications such as Remind allows the teacher to communicate with her students via email or text from her phone. Reminders become easy using a mobile device.
Both teachers and students are use mobile devices for presentation. For the teacher, using a mobile device allows for formative assessment during instruction. For the student, mobile devices allow for project submission to display content mastery.
Classroom management of data, communication, accommodations, grades, content delivery becomes a more manageable task using mobile devices. Mobile devices allows for ease of updating as well as updating in any location.
Students are able to utilize applications from their mobile devices to show mastery of content, collaboration and in some cases, data collection.
Formative and summative assessment is made simple through the use of mobile apps such as Google forms, Poll Everywhere and Pear Deck. Assessments can be given during instruction as well as outside of class time.
Foulger et al. (2013) continue to say seamless information flows in a manner of convenience, expediency, and immediacy (and) are valuable to teachers and enhance students’ learning (Kynäslahti, 2003).
These features provide opportunities for individualized, situated, collaborative, and informal learning without being limited to classroom contexts (Cheon et al., 2012).
While portability and mobility have already made these devices attractive tools, developments such as geospatial technologies, search capabilities, image and video capture, and context awareness have further increased their versatility by promoting situated learning experiences and allowing exploration within authentic settings, particularly supporting inquiry-based learning (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013).