Limelight on Mobile Learning: Integrating Education and Innovation

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2013). Limelight on Mobile Learning: Integrating Education and Innovation. Harvard International Review, 34(4) pp. 12–16.


Mobile apps and tablets have assumed a prominent position in the landscape of technology use in education and training, Numerous successes have already been recorded. However, the rise of social, round-the-clock Internet activity supporting voluntary, loosely organized, informal learning is posing significant challenges for traditional classroom-based education as well as distance teaching. In the era of Web 2.0, an individual’s blog post or shared video can generate debate and commentary akin to a successful classroom discussion. At the other end of the scale, astonishing numbers of people registering for massive open online courses (MOOCs) testify to the growing popularity of free, semi-formal learning environments that afford good learning materials, a degree of social interaction, and tolerance of intermittent participation due to varying interests and constraints. Use of mobile technologies bolsters this phenomenon. It is widely known that mobile learning expands access, but less well understood is that it also provides additional channels for communication and collaboration, facilities for context-inspired content creation, location-specific learning, and augmentation of a person’s surroundings through extra layers of visual and audio information automatically triggered or delivered on demand. Mobile devices will soon be capable of supporting learners intelligently across study locations and contexts of use, breaking down barriers between formal and informal learning. This article alerts readers to the impacts that these developments are having on traditional models of teaching, since they call into question the role of schools and universities as fixed locations imparting largely static knowledge.

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