mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

Device Advantages

Interestingly the same physical hardware, operating system and software limitations of mobile devices was often seen as an advantage to other users.

One of the most significant advantages is portability. The size and lack of additional peripherals meant that the iPad could be carried around and used significantly more often than many other forms of technology. The iPad has complemented their work processes and become an important tool to create, reference, research and communicate across locations and environments. This portability became increasingly important for students in workplace learning, as the iPad became central to study and communication because it was always present and available.

The large internal storage also had significant benefits. For example, marking paperless assignments was made easier by reducing the physical requirement of paper, but also allowed academics to mark wherever they liked, and rather than being tied to a workstation they could mark outside, in a coffee shop, the library or on the couch at home. Students and staff both discussed how the device also made having access to research readings much simpler and portable.

The touch interface has a specific affordance with its ability to replicate natural handwriting. The addition of a stylus has enabled many academics that require or prefer natural handwriting to keyboard and mouse. This has been extensively used by academics and staff teaching mathematics, who prefer the speed and accuracy afforded by this type of control. They are quickly able to create and demonstrate complex mathematics and processes in a much more naturalistic manner to the benefit of themselves and their students.

Smart mobile devices are not single purpose objects, but a combination of various technologies creating distinct affordances. Not only does a device provide a computing power to run applications, but is also equipped with a variety of sensors, GPS, microphone and camera that transforms them into extremely capable and adaptable  devices. This multi-functionality creates a truly multipurpose tool, which can be applied to a wide variety of tasks across the discipline areas, such as  capturing the world around them through video and sound, track positioning and providing location-based experiences, linking and connecting people around the world. It is truly powerful when these functions are combined, creating almost limitless applications and new ways of developing engaging, practical learning and teaching possibilities.

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