Links leading to mLearning topics

Below are links to topics related to mobile learning.

Augmented Reality:

  1. Augmented reality on EduWiki.
  2. A European look at Augmented reality and how it helps students… that is if the glasses are accepted as a mobile device!
  3. A lengthy video lecture about Augmented Learning in Education

Simulated Learning on Mobile Devices

  1. Some ideas about using iPad simulation in workplace training.
  2. 3 iPad simulations for learning.
  3. An article about the use of simulation to teach physics with focus on models rather than mathematical complexities.

User Generated Teal Time Content

  1. A white paper about the use of Clicker in the classroom.
  2. A blog on Smart Planet about the use of Clicker in the classroom.
  3. An interesting European report about User Generated Content as applied in real time internet.

Behavioural Nutrition Uses

  1. From International Jouranl of Behaviural Nutrition: Global positioning system: a new opportunity in physical activity measurement. Useful for health practitioners or students in health related programs.
  2. This is a list of iPod/iPad apps related to physical training.
  3. Nice read from The New Your Times about the use of mobile devices in health training.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

  1. Wikipedia explanation of the Near Field Communication.
  2. An article that desribe NFC as the next generation QR.
  3. Very interesting paper about the implementation of NFC in higher education.

QR and Augmented Information

  1. A Pearltree page link about everything QR.
  2. Use of QR in Libraries.
  3. A good article about Augmented Reality in Education.

Coordinated Learning and GPS

  1. From SEDL: Using GPS to promote problem solving. Useful for K-12 classes or any other course related to problem solving using real life scenarios.
  2. From International Jouranl of Behaviural Nutrition: Global positioning system: a new opportunity in physical activity measurement. useful for health practitioners or students in health related programs.
  3. A Textbook: Google Earth and GPS Elementary Classroom Activities. A book filled with GPS activities to be used at schools.

Findings of the mlearnin survey

MobileShoppingAs part of the Mobile Learning course, the team has conducted a survey among the acquaintances of the participants. Good and elaborate explanation was presented by my colleague learn123 on his blog. I recommend you visit it for more background information and meaningful findings. In this post, I will present some additional findings based on my own analysis which should complement my colleague’s observations. My line of thought is driven by developing an mLearning implementation plan, Consequently, I read the results of the survey from the preservative of identifying preparation work needed for the success of the plan.

Finding 1

In questions 4 to 9, and on average, 81 participants skipped the questions that checks their experience with mobile learning. This is almost 53% of the participants do not know or are not aware of an educational use for mobile devices. Since 89% of the participants work in an education related field (check question 1), then I may conclude that mobile devices are not popular in the educational field. Taking this finding forward, it is obvious to me that we need to promote and market the use of mobile devices more effectively for a successful implementation in education. This promotion will involve awareness activities as well as training.

Finding 2

Question 20 presents interesting findings about the teaching paradigm of the participants. 65.5% indicated that the mobile device is a cause of distraction, while 29.1% indicated that might be a tool for cheating. This means, to me at least, that there are good percentage of the participants who still think about using mobile devices in a traditional sense of education that still focuses on a teacher lead instruction. Going forward, it is obvious, at least to me, that the success of a mobile implementation plan should be accompanied by a change shift activities that introduces a new educational paradigm that is suitable for mLearning. This will include new assessment methodologies as well as, more social/collaborative/connected teaching concepts.

Finding 3

Question 21 has another significant finding. 52.8% of the participants, does not see a correlation between mobile learning and cloud computing. In addition, 41 participants refrained from answering. Combining both, a staggering 73.8% of the participants do not appreciate, or know about, the effectiveness of cloud computing in the use of mobile devices. In my opinion, a successful use of mobile devices in learning or otherwise, should depend and integrate with cloud computing. This result, again to me, indicates that the success of any mobile implementation plan in education should be accompanied by proper training and awareness about cloud computing and its use in the mobile world as well as education.


mLearning: ideas to use in the classroom

My good friend and colleague, Skip, has provided a wealth of mLearning related links that I like to archive here. The annoying thing is that most of them were posted in 2008… which means we are 3 years behind!

  • Touch: Touch is a research project that investigates Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology that enables connections between mobile phones and physical things
  • 6 uses of Twitter in a Classroom: one blog that jas links to 6 success stories of using Twitter to enhance learning. One interesting idea that I might use is tweeting as a note sharing in the class. One projector shows the tweets, while the other shows the class presentation. Another good idea is to replace email with twieeting and use blogs to submit work, then tweet about it. Worth a try!
  • Prof Intille: This is an MIT professor who combined Health Sciences and Computers in his studies and emerged as a guru in mobile devices that focuses on health issues. His work is phenomenal.
  • mLearning Demystified: a nice, bit old video, about the use of mobile devices in the UK.
And these are few links I found that relates to the use of mobile devices in environmental sciences:
  • Enhancing Learning: A study on the use of mobile devices to improve collaboration and sense making. It focuses on the use of LillyPad application.
  • Scitable: is a free mReference library that offers a wealth of opportunities to learn about science and collaborate on enhancing this knowledge.
So far, this is what I have in mind to do with my next Computer Course I will teach:
  1. Promote the sense of community among the students. They need to understand that they have to teach each other… and teach me as well.
  2. They need to come up with a communication method among them that involves me. From my end, I will ask them all to join a FaceBook group (GrowTechnically), agree on a tweet hashtag (#GrowT), create a blog site for them using WordPress or Blogger.
  3. Use Moodle as the assignment announcement and submission. Most submissions need to have links.
  4. Use Google+ (if released) as the cloud entity.
  5. Ask them to bring their own laptop/iDevice to do the work in the classroom.
  6. Use Scitable to generate a report about an environmental issue.
  7. Demonstrate how mobile devices can contribute to enhancing our environmental surroundings and address its issues.
This is just the start. The ideas will develop as we progress.

Possible Outcomes:

  1. Use mobile devices to enhance sense making.
  2. Use mobile devices to capture and share notes about findings in the field.
  3. Working with the cloud to collaborate and produce information from data.
  4. Monitor climate change using a mobile device.

Learning: Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is a new science that is emerging where technology act as an extended tool for our reality. Such tools allow us to recognize more facts about the physical reality that human faculties (like memory or 6th sense) does not recognize. One of the first layperson such tool was the MediaLab 6 sense I showed it an earlier post. With the sophistication of the mobile devices, augmented reality is becoming more popular than anticipated. I think this has a major impact on teaching and learning. Future education, if it survives, will find teaching facts to students is obsolete. The real focus will be developing basic faculty skills and train on methods of utilizing knowledge obtained from AR tools. An example:

As you can see from video, education is trying to get the AR into the classroom. But I think, real AR technology will take learning away from school into real life. Wait for more posts about the topic.

Mobile Learning: The 3 Challenges of Mobile Learning

Background information: The below argument is based on applying mobile learning at my work in a community college.I am sure I will face far more than 3 challenges when implementing mobile learning. I tried to group the challenges I will face under three big groups:

(1) Managing the Change: Introducing mobile learning in my organization follows the usual change resistance that poses multifaceted challenges. The first one, is the buy-in from top management to allocate resources to support the project. The second one, which is the most fundamental, is the required shift in the educational paradigm from “knowledge resides in the brain” to the notion that “brain knowledge is augmented with outside knowledge”. The third one is the shift in assessment paradigm from “students should be assessed based on a norm that is determined by the curriculum” to a new paradigm that allows students to grow based on their own talent and abilities. The fourth paradigm shift is from “students should learn on their own” to “learning happens through social interaction”.

(2) Training and Resources: Using mobile devices will require a lot of preparation work to ensure its success. Basically, it is a two legged race. The first leg-work is to train and/or educate the instructors on the usefulness of mobile devices in learning and the different approaches that could be applied. The second leg is to identify the right mobile tools and resources that are suitable for each program or course. Most of the available mobile resources did not reach its mass suitability for the learning process. They are still device and operating system dependent which poses technical challenges that most educators would like to avoid. At the moment, the only two effective educational tools are the eReaders and the social media tools. Unfortunately, most publications used in education does not promote a mobile-friendly format, and social media is not widely accepted as a learning tool.

(3) Study Habits: Another major challenge is the acceptable mode of study. The widely accepted and recognized approach to learning is that it requires organized, preplanned, dedicated study and in most cases, quiet time. It is still very difficult for many educators to comprehend studying in a different mode. Since mobile learning encourages studying during unplanned idle time, anywhere and on demand, addressing this shift at the teacher level, on the curriculum level and the assessment is a major hurdle that I hate to face.


  • Anderson, Terry, (2011), “Three Generation of Distant Education“, presentation website, last accessed on 10 March 2011.
  • Araya, Daniel (E), Peters Michael (E), (2010), “Education in the Creative Economy: Knowledge and Learning in the Age of Innovation” Published by Peter Lang Pub, ISBN 9781433107443
  • Kukulska, Angel (Editor), Traxler, John, (2005), “Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers (The Open and Flexible Learning Series)”, Routledge, ISBN: 0415357403.
  • Tapscott, Don (2009), “Grown up Digitally” Published by McGraw Hill, ISBN: 978007150863
  • Weiten, Wayne (2010), “Psychology: Themes and Variations”, 8th Edition, p. 28,  Cengage Learning, ISBN: 0495601977.

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Psychology: Themes and Variations, 8th Edition / Edition 8 by Wayne Weiten

Mobile Learning and Social Media

While reflecting on mobile learning, I recognized that our focus should shift slightly when thinking about the use of mobile devices in learning. The focus should not be on the hardware, the operating System nor interfaces only. The focus should be on its ability to offer “social media” services. Will anyone buy a wireless phone if it does not offer texting, Facebook interfaces, or any of Google gadgets?

Consequently, Social Media should be considered when discussing mobile learning! Your thoughts? I leave you with this video to give you more insight on the topic:

Mobile Learning: The mobile nomad

Who do I consider a mobile nomad? First, let’s agree that learning is converting the public information to personal knowledge.

The obvious answer is that the mobile nomads are the busy workers who seeks education anytime and anywhere. The one who spend so much time idling waiting for the next process of his work. Those who commute. Or those who work in modern corporate world where they have to spend 8 hours at work while their actual work load needs far less than that. Or those who live in locations that lack traditional cable internet connectivity.

The non-obvious answer is still unclear. I think the real mobile nomads are the  lifelong learners who can learn when new knowledge is needed. Information is exponentially changing and knowledge need to be created based on the most up to date information. This is a new breed of beings who are among us but not widely recognized by education. The wikipedians (i.e volunteer collaborators and open source developers) are very good example. They contribute to their knowledge and the global information anytime, anywhere and with any device.

Learning: Disposable Knowledge and Learning

I was in the middle of the following discussion that ignited in the Mobile Learning Course. The Professor wrote:

In reviewing the blog posts, I came across some interesting comments. Some of which I am bringing into the class for further discussion:

Anas’ comments to Brandy’s post read

“Hi Brandy, like you, I am still researching and checking all Apps as much as possible. I haven’t made my mind what would be really useful. So far, I find myself heavily attached to Media Apps (Movies and news). I use the How To apps (cooking, do it yourself) a lot. Those help me get things done quickly but I do not retain the information. For example, I can cook the best disk from Betty Crockers App, but I cannot repeat it unless I have the app next to me. Is this learning? Don’t you agree that these small devices are forcing us to redefine the term “learning”.

Good post. Thank you.”

What is learning in this respect? Has retention been relegated to rote learning and therefore dated? Does the fact that most of the information we need are available on the mobile device, in our hands or the computer hard disk at home, prevent us from retaining knowledge? Where do you think the future of mobile learning could lead to when we consider what is retained and what is not? When can we apply the “sixth sense” as provided by our mobile devices and when are we allowed not to? Can we ask our job interviewer to wait while we contact our mobile device for a response to his/her question?

Here is my answer:

Yes, definition of learning needs to be modified.

According to earlier work of Clifton and Buckingham, and recently by Robinson, we have certain talents and strengths that in many cases ignored by the educational systems. Very few individuals align their talent to the requirement of education. These individuals become high academic achievers. The majority have talents that does not match the educational requirements. These individuals are forced to learn things they do not feel comfortable with. Those students memories the information and rarely convert them to knowledge or apply them. Consequently, due to modern knowledge tools, they can use mobile devices to learn on demand. We do not have to retain them for they are readily accessible. Does this mean we stop learning? No! Because we have tendency to learn concepts related to our talents with no problems. We will continue learning them. It is those we do not like, or have talent to do, we capture them through the knowledge tool and dispose them when not needed. This is good. Developing such an attitude will help to endorse change instantaneously. It will increase the human ability to evolve. I like to call this “disposable knowledge”!

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Definitions of Mobile Learning


  • Mobile learning (or m-learning) is the combination of e-learning and mobile computing that promises the access to applications which support learning at anytime and anywhere [Holzinger, A., Nischelwitzer, A., Meisenberger, M. (2005). Lifelong-Learning Support by M-learning: Example Scenarios. ACM eLearn Magazine, 2005(11)]
  • Mobile education is learning delivered or supported solely or mainly by handheld and mobile technologies such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones or wireless laptop PCs.  [Source: Current State of Mobile Learning,].
  • Personalized learning is learning that recognises diversity, difference, and individuality in the ways that learning is developed, delivered, and supported.
  • Situated learning isl earning that takes place in the course of activity, in appropriate and meaningful contexts (Lave and Wenger 1991).
  • Authentic learning is learning that involves real-world problems and projects that are relevant and interesting to the learner.


From: [bit old, but has some values]

  • The rule of thumb, is to provide about twice the amount of content that can be viewed on the screen: If an average mobile screen supports 300 characters, limit your pages to 600 characters.
  • Avoid placing important text inside graphics. The mobile browser may shrink graphics so that they fit on the small display size. Any text that is in the graphic will also be shrunk, potentially to a size that is illegible.
  • Avoid rich/multimedia content until a new standard is universally adopted.
  • Have two different style sheets, with the appropriate one loading at run time based on the device. One for desktop and the other one for mobile device.
  • Use small or unobtrusive graphics and logos
  • Avoid navigation bars that may take up a large percentage of the screen.
  • If you want to include complex navigation, place these at the end of the page content so that learners have access first to the primary content.
  • Avoid background graphics.
  • Pull-down menus don’t necessarily work on mobile devices (because of uneven JavaScript support), so consider using arrows to take learners through a tour of your course.
  • Graphic navigation icons should be simple arrows or a descriptive word such as “next” or “back”.
  • Navigation frames work well on some devices, make sure your content can be downloaded quickly.


[Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database, 2010]

  • By the end of 2010, there will be an estimated 5.3 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, including 940 million subscriptions to 3G services.
  • Access to mobile networks is now available to 90% of the world population and 80% of the population living in rural areas.
  • People are moving rapidly from 2G to 3G platforms, in both developed and developing countries. In 2010, 143 countries were off ering 3G services commercially, compared to 95 in 2007.
  • Towards 4G: a number of countries have started to off er services at even higher broadband speeds, moving to next generation wireless platforms – they include Sweden, Norway, Ukraine and the United States.

Mobile Learning

The organization I’d like to discuss is Apple. The devise that impressed me was the 6th sense tool.

My first encounter with learning with mobile phones was back in 2000 when two Japanese students demonstrated how they used the mobile phone in their learning. Back then, it was still based on the old GSM technology and its real potential was not obvious. Still, it had an impression on me to have anywhere/anytime learning, even if it was a text based.

In 2003, I was amazed with Citrix on iPaq devices. Using the right wireless setup, we were able to connect my iPaq to my office PC through a Citrix add on and run an AutoCAD application on the tiny iPaq device… that impressed me because I was able to follow up on the construction of our new campus anywhere with this device. But the screen was annoyingly small. This gave us the idea that we need to develop an instructional program to train teachers on how to prepare their students to the mobile world. This never materialized.

Until 2010, the mobile phone was nothing but a device that allowed me to make phone calls, text and check my emails. When the iPhone was introduced, it was a new gadget. It did not introduce anything unfamiliar to me… until I saw a demo about its uses in medicine. I was amazed. The doctor gave a patient an iPhone with the right connection and tools to monitor his status 24/7. All data were sent back, wirelessly, to a central server in the doctor’s hospital. When the iPhone detect an abnormal trend in the patient vital indicators, the hospital is notified, an ambulance is sent to where the patient is and remedy is given… although the patient would not know that anything is wrong… In this way, the patient is treated BEFORE he gets sick or get hit by any damaging stroke. That is when I recognized that mobile phone is becoming part of our life and I needed to pay more attention to it as a device, a way of life, a learning tool and an educational item.

The iPhone, and its “younger brother” the iPad has revolutionized mobile connectivity. The number and type of Apps that exists on these devices is shaping our life (here, “our” refers to my family). From real time cooking tips in the kitchen, to showing NetFlex movies in the living room and staying connected with our family wherever we are in the world. It allowed us to live on the risky side of life. We do not have to plan our trips anymore. We pick the right flights, hotel booking, restarants, adventure just when we need them. And we are saving money. We get wealth of information just when we want them. And they are up-to-date. I can enumerates many more.

If nothing else, one App could make the use of mobile computing useful in education: the eBook readers. Imagine students carrying all their academic books (even a full library), notes, learning tools in a small device that weighs less than a pound. Isn’t this alone worth investing in mobile devices at schools?

However, the device that made me speechless and deeply impressed is… let it speak for itself:


Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic