Mini Project:- Consider the potential for m-learning within your teaching area.

Posted: November 26, 2012 in e-learning, education, elearning, m-learning, technology

Consider the potential for m-learning within your teaching area.

Using the theoretical perspectives introduced in the podcast to justify your discussion.

M-learning is by far one of the most important technological advances to facilitate learning and mobile learning since the printing press extending as far backs as the 1800’s when the four step learning plan by Johann Friedrich Herbart was published in which he outlined how sensory “information was transformed, organised, stored, and related to new experiences” (cited by (Saettler 1998 p.52)

So what is M-learning?  when most of us discuss education we tend to think back to those endless day, sat “isolated” at a desk, in a class room, with the teacher at the front imparting knowledge until we left  joyfully for home at 3.30pm throwing off the shackles of confinement and quickly forgetting all that had been imparted on us. This is where m-learning comes with us beyond the classroom in the form of a device.

With the rise of technology and “devices” often comes learning Dede 2011 ISTE conference states:-

“We know from generations of work that devices are catalysts… “The device never produces learning, but when coupled with changes in content, new forms of assessment, linking people together, that’s what enables learning.”

So what are these devices? PDA, iPods, iPads, tablet computers and of course the mobile phone, the ubiquitous device for communication, orally, textually and visually and conveyor of information, a portal to the worlds collaborative knowledge and even a paper weight.

M-learning falls into a number of categories, outlined in detail by Kukulska-Hulme A. Traxler J. (2007) and listed below

  • Technology driven mobile learning
  • Miniature but portable learning
  • Connected Classroom Learning
  • Mobile Training/performance support
  • Informal, personalized, situated mobile learning.
  • Remote/rural/development mobile learning.

In my teaching context it is the latter two that are of greatest pedagogic use facilitated by linking the Global positioning system (GPS), video and audio and augmentation of reality that mobile phones allow for situative learning in the field of Geology and Geography.

One technique I have implemented is the creation of location based augmented reality field trips in which a student can augment their situation by reviewing audio or video play back triggered by a GPS location or a geo-tagged feature. The two main applications used are Wikitude, Layar and more recently Aurasma.

Examples of use.

Arriving at a field location, the student are given the task of geological interpretation of the landscape, clues to this can be found after some collaborative group work. Students can then point their Smartphone at a particular geological feature or a previously geo-tagged location at which point a pre-recorded YouTube based video gives the student a short film of the “palaeogeographical” environment 250ma years ago or an overlay of geological strata that augments the real world environment.

Theoretical perspective

The use of augmented reality falls within the theoretical boundaries of cognitive constructivist learning, for example immersive mobile investigation and situated learning in which authentic learning involves real world problems that are relevant and interesting to the learner.

Other researcher have proposed the use of augmented reality as being the basis of cognitive constructs based on knowledge acquisition using advanced spatial visualization tools (Shelton & Hedley, 2003).

David A. Kolb believes “learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” (1984, p. 38). A theory I believe is embedded within the use of mobile learning and of augmented reality.

In conclusion the use of m-learning encompasses a number of learning theories and links this with the development of new modern devices that are a ubiquitous part of  a student’s everyday life. However, as stipulated by (Saettler 1998 p.52) the basis for this extends back more than 200 years when “information was transformed, organised, stored, and related to new experiences”.


Kolb, D. A., 1984. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development.. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc,.

Kukulska-Hulme A. Traxler J. (2007) ‘Designing for mobile and wireless learning’pp180-192 in Beetham H. and Sharpe R. Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age London:Routledge

Saettler, P., 1998. Antecedents, Origins, and theoretical evolution of AECT.. Techtrends, 43(1), pp. 51-56.

Shelton, B. E. & Hedley, N. R., 2003. Exploring a Cognitive Basis for Learning Spatial Relationships with Augmented Reality. Tech., Inst., Cognition and Learning,, Volume 1, pp. 323-357.

Wali, E., Winters, N. and Oliver, M. (2008) Maintaining, changing and crossing contexts: an activity theoretic reinterpretation of mobile learning, ALT-J, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 41-57


The President and Fellows of Harvard College., n.d. Handheld Augmented Reality Project (HARP). [Online] Available at:
[Accessed 26th November 2012].

Hawthorn), C. G., 2011. Augmented Reality and Experiential Learning. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 26th November 2012].


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