Category Archives: m-learning

Networked handheld devices for learning and teaching

The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) is pleased to announce that with the support of Becta we will be running a good practice workshop for schools, colleges, universities, work-based learning, and community education about the Successful deployment of networked handheld devices for learning and teaching.

The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Gilly Salmon, head of Leicester University’s Beyond Distance Research Alliance, and it will take place between 16.30 on Thursday 12 November to 15.30 on Friday 13 November at the National College for Leadership for Schools and Children’s Services in Nottingham.

There is a full description below and at

If you wish to attend this event please express an interest using the form at by no later than 12 noon on Friday 23 October.

Mobile learning in a military context


Yesterday I was in that for me was in some ways a very alien environment and in other ways a familiar environment.
I delivered a session on mobile learning to a group of military personnel down in Torpoint in Cornwall. With Navy, Army and Airforce the day was looking at advanced learning and how the military can draw ideas from how learning is changing from a series of presentations from a group of experts.

I gave a presentation on mobile learning in which covered (if you have seen me present before) familiar ground. I talked about the use of mobile technologies, the use of mobile web technologies, learning while mobile and the mobility of the learner.

I did focus on how we use mobile learning at Gloucestershire College more to enhance and enrich the learning experience at this time, over replacing traditional learning modes. Eventually I know we will be able to take advantage of what mobile learning has to offer and enable our learners to access learning at a time and place to suit the learner.

Despite radical differences between the focus and operation of the armed forces and a typical FE College; we both do train and teach learners. In some cases we deliver very similar subjects, vehicle maintenance, catering, plumbing; and in some very different subjects, handling a 20mm light cannon, disassembling a GMPG.

We both face similar challenges, we both have our Innovation Prevention Departments™, we have traditions that were laid down that are believed can never be changed, a changing society, fast moving changes in technology.

We also have our differences, the security issues faced by the armed forces are different to the ones faced in an FE College. The turnover of instructors, in the armed forces often instructors will only do a two year tour before moving back on ship, back to their regiment, etc…

We have our differences, we have our similarities, in the end we can learn from each other and this can only benefit both of our groups of learners.

Mobile Learning Thoughts

Often when people mention mobile learning they automatically think about mobile technology, notably mobile computers, specifically Windows Mobile PDAs and iPhones.

For me it is a different philosophy, much more about learning when mobile.

It was walking around different colleges which made me realise that when it came to mobile learning, it wasn’t about getting PDAs running learning content (though I am sure there are scenarios which they would enhance and support learning), but was much more about using the devices our students already have.

These could include

One end result of this was a presentation I gave at the 2006 JISC Online Conference, available here, which looked at how to use a range of consumer mobile devices for learning. I also made a video of the presentation which was made available to delegates at the conference for their mobile devices.

Since then, three years later, the market has moved forward quite dramatically, it is now even easier for learners to access audio, video and web content on their mobile devices. Devices such as the PSP, the iPhone, the Nintendo DSi are more widespread and are also much more connected and can play a lot more content.

One of the key factors has to be how easy is it for the learner to access that content?

Another barrier to overcome is to realise that the mobile device is only one tool that a learner may use for learning. So though a learner may listen to audio, or view video on a mobile device, assessing their learning may take place using a traditional computer or a pen and paper. For me mobile learning is not about learning on a mobile, but learning when mobile.

A (paper) notepad can be used when mobile, though mobile devices do allow for a more interactive, collaborative, engaging learning experience.

Certainly this model is how my institution is moving forward in terms of mobile learning.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #020: The future of learning…

At the RSC Eastern Mobile Learning Event, James Clay considers the future of learning…


This is the twentieth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, The future of learning…

Download the podcast in mp3 format: The future of learning…

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