Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes and Pettit, John
Self-service education: Smartphones as a catalyst for informal collective and individual learning.
In: Mlearn '07 mobile learning conference, 16-19 October 2007, Melbourne, Australia.
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A major barrier to the uptake and integration of new technologies in teaching and learning is the lack of personal experience of mobile learning on the part of those involved in teaching and in the preparation of materials and methods of learner support. Our project addresses this by introducing forty academic and support staff to the use of smartphones to support their own learning, within a semi-formal community structure and with a focus on their personal and professional development. We set out to explore whether the smartphone would act as a catalyst, heightening interest in professional development, encouraging exploitation of relevant resources, and promoting dialogue amongst the staff members involved. The paper considers the idea of 'self-service' education, whereby learners are in charge of what they want to learn but may still require some form of support. The peer learning community aspects of the project are foregrounded, consisting of workshops, clubs, a buddy system and online environment. A two-stage process gave us the opportunity to reflect on one group's experience and rethink arrangements before a second group started. We show how fine-tuning a particular professional development opportunity gives insights into the best ways to make use of limited resources.
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