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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Michael Furdyk is using m-learning to connect with youth about Canadian identity

Photo: Catherine Aczel Boivie
"Recently I attended the Learning Solutions conference in Orlando, where along with 500 plus attendees, I learned more about mobile learning, or m-learning. What is mobile learning?" reports Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie, Chief Executive Officer of Inventure Solutions and Senior Vice-President of Information Technology at Vancity.


It is learning based on short course modules that are available on mobile devices. These devices, whether an iPhone, iPad or tablet, can be used anywhere and anytime to learn a new concept or skill. For example, if you want to fix a pump, you can search for instructions on how to repair it and then follow the instructions as you carry out the pump repair. I was more interested in learning how to fix the binding on a quilt I made so it is straight and there was a short m-learning module on how to do that.

M-learning has gained increased hype not only due to its convenience of being accessible anywhere and anytime but it also offers a highly interactive learning process which shares knowledge and provides feedback on how well the knowledge/skill was absorbed. According to the speakers at the conference, m-learning has been shown to improve exam scores and reduce student drop-out rate.

Well over a decade ago, when I was working on my Masters degree, there was a lot of hype about another similar tool which consisted of computer-assisted instructions that was supposed to replace the need for a teacher. Students would take courses on computers, based on material that had been designed by educational experts. In looking beyond the hype, as part of one of my Masters projects, I found that while these courses did assist teachers, they never replaced them. Instead the computer-assisted courses became one more useful tool in the teachers’ toolbox. As I was listening to the presentations surrounding m-learning, I wondered if ultimately it would end up as another tool for educators can use, or if it would make as big a difference for educators as claimed by its proponents.

Source: (blog)