What do you think of when you think about Mobile Learning? I think about the ability to learn wherever I am and in whatever context I choose. Mobile Learning smashes the third wall, enters our domain, and allows us to learn whatever we want, whenever we want. I am a Mobile Learner and I am pretty sure you are too! So let us start by clearing the air: What exactly is Mobile Learning? (lets ask wikipedia)
The term m-learning or “mobile learning”, has different meanings for different communities, that refer to a subset of e-learning, educational technology and distance education, that focuses on learning across contexts and learning with mobile devices. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_learning)
I chose to highlight the definition from Wikipedia because it calls on three specific issues: 1) Mobile Learning is different for every person you talk to; 2) Mobile Learning is a subset of Electronic Learning that blends Ed Tech and Distance Education; 3) Mobile Learning is context aware and occurs on a mobile platform. Historically, I like to think of Mobile Learning the digital version of flyers. I think of all of the times that I went hiking as a kid – before the internet. We arrived at a trail head, there were often signs, papers, and maps to provide us with the most relevant information and help plan our adventure. Mobile Learning allows you to do that, even if there are no signs, pamphlets, or maps to guide you. With Geolocation, we are on the cusp of designing context aware information that will allow us to evaluate the conditions before we get started. I see a day when you can get out of your car at a trailhead, your phone will buzz (or your glasses or watch for that matter) and you will get a message that says: “You just arrived at Chitaqua Park, people are reporting muddy conditions in places and the current weather suggests you bring a light jacket. Click for more information.” (by the way, this functionality mostly exists in a wonderful service called IFTTT).