Is it really MOBILE learning?

Mobile learning or mlearning is the hot topic. An interesting question is “Is it mobile learning or just wireless learning (not fixed to wired device)?”

Do students do their mobile learning from their usual desk/chair? If they stay in one spot, it is truly “mobile” learning or is it just wireless learning?

Students do mobile learning when they

1) Interact with other classmates. If they regroup and work within their new group, they are mobile. For example, on one day, they work in small groups to brainstorm ideas, each student independently develops one of the ideas on his/her own and, then, the regroup to put together their ideas. Their learning does not happen in just one fixed location, their desk.

2) Use data from various parts of the classroom. They may have QR stations where they do various aspects of the learning goal. An art teacher may have QR codes in each corner of the room that help students compare/ contrast four styles of painting for the same theme of family. Modern Language students may be asked to look at a poster, painting, or picture, pretend to be in the picture, have a conversation, and record that conversation.

3) Capture data from other parts of the room. Science students may use their mobile device to take pictures of their growing plant over many weeks, of how far the sun’s light go inside the classroom over several months. Math students can take pictures of real math problems with the prices of actual food such as a gallon of milk for $3.99

3) Interview other people in the school for information and views. The wandering students can take their mobile device, record the conversation, take a movie of something, or take pictures. ??????

4) Use data or capture specific information from other parts of the school or community. Social Studies students can take pictures of local history places, events or objects, interview community members for their memories, put together a wiki page for that place, and create QR codes to show how that place played a critical role in the development of the place. They put an actual QR code in front of the historical place.

5) Access in-depth information on a topic from other students and people. Music students may create online surveys of what type music people listen to and how often. They can ask the survey takers to explain their choice of music and, then the students analyze the data.

6) Interact with people from other parts of the state, country, and world. Students can use relatives and friends to find people other locations. For example, a student from Rochester NY may interact with a student from Quito, Ecuador regarding celebrations to find similarities and differences.

7) See multiple views. Since each student in a small group can each access information (music, pictures, movies, text), students can see different views of the bigger picture and then create a synthesized view. In an English class, a group might focus on the human condition of romantic love. One student finds a work of art, one finds a poem, one finds a song, and one finds a movie; they collaborate on showing different types of romantic love.

8) Collaborate with students and others as part of their homework.

9) Develop individual learning projects based on interest as well as group collaborative projects. In Science students can explore a certain aspect of pollution (noise, chemical, in the air, etc) that interests them. They can develop their own hypothesis (school halls have more noise than an airport) and then gather data to prove it.

Mobile learning implies mobility of physical place, mobility of expanding thinking, and mobility of interacting with others inside and outside the classroom, and mobility of individual work.

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask a question from a card), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics), and Grammar speaking games. Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:

Harry Grover Tuttle teaches English and Spanish college courses at Onondaga Community College and blogs at Education with Technology. He is also the author of several books on formative assessment.