As mobile devices continue to shrink in size and cost, their functionality and potential for learning is expanding, mediated through their various affordances which include more powerful multimedia, social networking, communication and geo-location capabilities. Hence Dr Burden thought that educators are increasingly seeking ways to exploit the appeal and growing ubiquity of mobile devices and the learning which is associated with it (m-learning), although their use and appropriateness in formal contexts, such as schools is relatively unknown and under-theorised.
Mobile technologies such as the tablet device and the personal phone have been described by some commentators as ‘boundary’ objects which enable teachers and learners to transcend many of the barriers such as space and time which have hitherto restricted and bound traditional forms of education and learning. If this claim is true and boundless learning is set to become more commonplace in our schools and institutions of education, how do educators design and develop learning scenarios that genuinely exploit the unique affordances of mobile technologies rather than simply replicating existing forms of pedagogy?
This workshop will explore this question drawing upon the emerging evidence from a current large Erasmus+ project which Dr Burden is leading on behalf of the European Commission called the Mobilising and Transforming Teacher Education Pedagogies project (www.mttep.eu). This project seeks to develop a mobile learning toolkit for educators which will enable them to evaluate and gauge their current use of mobile technologies (and that of their institutions) with a view to developing this practice more effectively. The workshop will explore with participants a variety of tools and instruments which are currently under development as part of the wider toolkit and its applicability to their own context within Hong Kong (the resources from the project will be openly available across the world).
Using a selection of interactive activities and mobile devices, the workshop will focus on the development of a digital survey instrument for educators and their students which will eventually provide a detailed summary at both the individual and institutional level about how mobile technology is currently being used and how this might be developed in the future. Participants will have an opportunity to use the survey tool and will be encouraged to become part of a wider user-testing group which will have access to the full toolkit during and after its development.
The workshop will also explore how teachers and teacher educators are using mobile devices to support alternative forms of learning (e.g. knowledge building) for their students and participants will have the opportunity to construct an artifact of their own on a mobile device in order to experience the process themselves. Finally the workshop will encourage participants to consider an action plan for the future development of these technologies in their own institution which will include the opportunity to produce a case study of their own for the MTTEP project if they so desire.