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Report Exposes Mobile Learning Myths

Report Exposes Mobile Learning Myths

Researchers at the University of South Africa have authored a report that exposes some common myths behind implementing mobile learning, or mLearning. The researchers hope their work will help educators minimize the negative effects that come with technology use as they take on a constantly developing tool.

According to eSchoolNews, researchers and co-authors of the report Tom Brown and Lydia Mbati sought to "focus on mobile learning’s oft-described 'techno-centric' characteristics, which the researchers say may do a disservice to those educators either interested in implementing mLearning, or have already done so."

In doing so, they defined a handful of myths found in the classroom associated with mobile learning.

First and foremost, the researchers want to dismiss the claim that mobile learning must apply strictly to mobile phones. Mobile learning, they say, refers to mobility and can therefore apply to laptops, iPads, Chromebooks, or any other devices that allow for fluid learning.

But, they argue, mobile learning does not mean it has to occur while on the move; mobile learning can indeed refer to static learning, they say.

The researchers also emphasize another popular view point with technology integration: the device should not be driving the learning, but supplementing.

“'Technology should always be regarded as the enabler and not as the driver of our teaching and learning activities,' emphasize the authors," according to the article.

Perhaps one of the biggest myths behind technology, they say, is that technology will save a lackluster curriculum or on its own create a desired learning experience; technology cannot replace the job of the teacher.

Expanding on that same thought, the researchers warn against the myth that classroom instruction needs to be "fully/totally mobile." Instead of being overly ambitious with technology integration and tossing the pen and paper to the wayside, the researchers recommend peppering lessons with tech devices here and there to test the waters.

"The key would be in the value that the mLearning component adds to the success and quality of the teaching and learning," and this is found by trying different things out.

The bottom line that Brown and Mbati want educators to understand is that "It is essential to (re)design our teaching and learning activities to be able to optimize our mLearning environments and to exploit the new and unique affordances that mLearning provides," but to not forget the important role and leadership of the teacher makes this possible.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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