Micah Shippee, PhD

Instructional Design & Development #edtech #GAFE

Research

Presently I’m exploring mobile learning (mLearning) and it’s implications on teacher professional development. Specifically I’m asking: What are the characteristics of a valid and practical mobile technology support tool that has the potential to impact the performance of teachers to improve instructional practices?

The ubiquity of mobile technology has surpassed traditional landline Internet in availability, with over 4 billion subscribers globally, more than two-thirds of whom live in developing countries. This global network covers more territory than the electrical grid (Johnson et al. 2010). An increased amount of mobile technology users are adopting smartphone technology allowing for a state of constant connectivity to social networks.  Immersion in this new technology does not equate to effective and efficient use of its maximum potential in  settings like K12 education. In a recent educational context study the researchers found a vast number of teaching professionals were members of a professional organization related to the teaching profession, yet significantly less reported being a member of an online community related to their profession. Yet the participation in online communities was identified in more than half of the respondents. Their immersion in new technologies, like social networking, did not relate to tapping the professional potential in an industry that values collaboration and peer support (Shippee & Dotger 2011).

The attributes of valid and practical mobile technology support tools are in need of development to help bridge the gap of personal use to professional use with the end result of positive student growth.

Mobile technology in learning (mLearning) is the exploitation of handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning (MoLeNET 2011). mLearning uses mobile technology to aid in the learning of, reference of or exploration of information useful to the user at that moment or in a specific use context (Float 2011).  Mobile Devices are defined by several criteria; form, connectivity, and state. The form factor clarifies a mobile device as comfortably fitting into the palm of one’s hand. Mobile devices must be connected to a network via a cellular network or a wireless network. And these mobile devices are in a state of “always on” allowing for instant on-demand learning, anytime, anywhere. (Agarwal 2009).

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