Tuesday, 19 February 2013

unesco: opportunities, threats & challenges of #mLearning #mlw2013

At the second day of the UNESCO's mLearning week, where Agnes Kukulska-Hulme from the Open University in the UK started the day with a very enlightening presentation bringing together the latest on mLearning pedagogies and focusing on a gender related project.

Title of her presentation is: Aligning migration with mobility: female immigrants using smart technologies for informal learning show the way

What follows are my live blogging notes, based on the slides shared by Agnes.
But I do change the order, starting with the concluding remarks, for I think these are very relevant and as such, reading them first is a good thing. And I will try and get hold of the slides and add a link when possible.

smart city learning

  • new configurations of human mobile assistance: friends, volunteers, mentors, online community
  • cognitive challenge: challenge arising from ubiquitous interactions: multiple devices, points of interest, augmented reality (how will people cope with that much information coming at them)
  • informal content and curricula: curricula built up from discovery of learner requirements (what do the learners need, that can then be translated into more formal curricula: enriching them or changing them completely?).
implications of mLearning
  • teacher roles: need to evolve to encompass wide-ranging support for informal learning (teachers must get more experience with mobile learning)
  • strong guidance on aspects of personal safety and security issues (trust, safe learning environment, what does it mean for female immigrants to dive into social media networks...)
  • review of language and communications curricula - taking account of opportunities for mobile-supported, situated, social learning.
  • new measures of learner progress and achievement (learner progress and achievement, how can we capture and measure this, what are new ways to award these achievements? Which formal and informal ways are there, badges, certificates, credits for learning overall ... bridging the gap between formal and informal learning) 

Mobile pedagogy breakthroughs (keypoints)

  • flexible collaboration
  • faster feedback (not necessarily based on tutor feedback)
  • social or study support at point of need
  • expended space for reflection and self-monitoring 
  • context inspired authentic content and challenge
  • location-based discoveries and memories
  • connecting learning across settings (contexts)
  • caters to learenr diversity
  • a route to learner autonomy
  • continuity across the life span
  • friends and family drawn into learning

Threats to mobile pedagogy as a force for good

  • disruption in classrooms and family life
  • health hazards: physical, mental, social
  • personal safety concerns
  • issues of data privacy: data security, trust
  • inadequate infrastructures, lack of support, high costs
  • perpetates some inequalities
  • subject to inpredicateble commercial forces
  • increasingly sophisticated technology
  • may trivialize or debase education
  • confusion around who is guiding learners. As we move into more informal territory, and other people come into play supporting the learner, there is more confusion about who is guiding the learners. 

There are many paradoxes about new learning: mobile yet situated, individual yet social
some examples are shared: lingobee, milexicon, toponimo
In these application the individual and the social happen in a shared space.

At the same time these paradoxes push our thinking, we start really thinking more deeply about how learning is taking place, how it is changing. 
Agnes thinks we are at a cusp of a mobile language learning revolution: a lens on the world, a way to connect with others, immediate translation options...
it makes it easier to engage with the world and specifically those who live in it.

So what are the typical situations that learners find themselves in? So we need to tailor and look at specific situations. 

  • The ability to study how learners are using their mobiles for learning, results in studies with learners, surveying how they use mobile devices for language learning. 
  • Looking at the use of mobile devices by immigrants coming from Afghanistan. The immigrant population is making use of their mobile devices in specific ways than the general population: playing games, recording videos and photo's, using mobile banking, posting to social media ... so an overall lively use of mobile devices. This can be used in future mobile learning designs. 

Mobile pedagogy: achievements and challenges
MASELTOV project - information servics, incidental languagel earning, community building
smart city learning in the 'ubiquity era'

Maseltov project is a European FP7 project, at this point in time results are starting to come out. The idea of the project is to understand how new mobile technologies can be used for furthering social inclusion.

MASELTOV project looks at smartphones with access to a range of tools tailored to their needs, including language apps.
The target user groups are people that come into the EU from outside the EU, low education (less 8 years of scholing), speakers of Turkish, Arabic and Spanish.
Looking at the complete learning journey: when they connect, how they travel through the city, looking at when they share information or learn...

Different social networks are put into place and screened for their usability in terms of mobile learning:
mobile Q/A forum
geo-social radar: which will detect who is nearby and is willing and able to help you
busuu online community: informal language learning community, and get feedback on your learning and progress.

The short abstract of the project is shared on the UNESCO website: The specific needs of migrant people, along with those of mobile workers and students, call into question the appropriateness of educational provision which is largely centred on classroom-based teaching and learning.  Mobile technologies extend collective knowledge building across formal and informal settings and new models of learning have to be elaborated; however, these bring their own challenges in terms of learner preparedness, available infrastructures, systems of assessment and the changing role of teachers. Furthermore, increasingly smart technologies that can monitor activity patterns and behaviours, and imbue familiar surrounding objects with additional layers of data and meanings, set new cognitive and intellectual challenges. The European MASELTOV research project, which is developing smartphone-based community services for EU immigrants, and in particular for isolated women, is an early example of the next generation of mobile learning, which will combine context-aware technologies with social networks, situated and incidental learning, progress monitoring, and distributed learner support. This research brings to the fore issues of literacy, quality, cost, privacy and trust. Although mobile devices clearly support various forms of mobility, there is more work to be done to ensure that human migration and device-enabled mobility are suitably aligned.