3. Advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning
4. Examples of mobile learning
5. Mobile phones
6. Mobile Assisted Language Learning
7. Learning Vocabulary
8. Listening Comprehension
9. Learning Grammar
11. Reading Comprehension
History of M-Learning
Thirty years ago, Xerox Dynabook proposed a self-contained knowledge manipulator in aportable package that allowed children to explore, create and share dynamic games. Thismovement was the first steps to mobile learning (Kay, 1972). In the 1990s, using devices such asPDAs or laptops in educational contexts for training got more researches attention. However, it isonly over the past ten years that mobile learning has developed as a set of significant projects in schools, workplaces, museums, cities and rural areas around the world. These projects cover different aspects of mobile devices such as sending SMS to learners‟ mobile phones (e.g. Andrews 2003; Levy & Kennedy 2005; McNicol 2005; Norbrook & Scott 2003; Pincas 2004; andThornton & Houser 2002; 2003; 2005), using multimedia functions of mobile (e.g. CarciaCabrere, 2002), or making use of the Internet (e.g. Dias,2002a, 2002b; Thornton and Houser,2003).Mobile learning allows learners to access learning materials and information from anywhere and at anytime (Ally, 2009). Thanks to the wireless technology, mobile phones can be used for formaland informal learning where learners can access additional and personalized learning materials from the Internet. Educators can mobile phones to communicate with learners from anywhere and at anytime or deliver learning materials from anytime and anywhere to learners. Indeed, learners do not have to wait for a certain time to learn or go to a certain place to learn what is prescribed to them (Ally, 2009).
Decades ago the concepts of learning and teaching was almost restricted in traditional classroom environments. Teachers' were presenting new knowledge for learners via text books and chalkboards in classrooms that were defining the context of learning (Beale, 2007; Klopfer, 2008). Not having sufficient control on the learners beyond classroom environments, abundant with authentic opportunities to gain knowledge, teachers were trying to establish predefined learning materials in classrooms. By shifting the philosophies of learning and teaching to more complex and adaptive ones parallel to the growth of technologies have generated interactional and social-based approaches for learning and teaching. In continuum, new inventions such as audio recorders, VCRs, TVs, and projectors were utilized in classrooms. However, the turning point was by the advent of computer and internet technologies. These media provide opportunities for learning, teaching, and measurement both in classroom and out of classroom environments.
These changes entailed prefixes such as E-, Online-, Ubiquitous-, Personalized-, Virtual- for learning (Pachler & Cook, 2010). Meanwhile, new developments in information and technologies introduced portable and personal devices like mobile phones, personal digital assistances (PDA),and digital audio players. This opened a new concept and view of learning, namely Mobile Learning or M-learning (Bachmair, Pachler, & Cook, 2009). M-learning helps ?linking people in real world and virtual worlds, creating learning communities between people on the move, providing expertise on demand, and supporting a lifetime of learning?? (Sharples, Milrad, Arnedillo-Sánchez, & Vavoula, 2009, p. 2.)
In the world that emerging technology-supported devices are rapidly growing, wireless communication technology is not an exception in this respect. As mobile phones with high capabilities extend into all areas of human life, it is expected that this wireless computing device soon becomes accessible for all urban and rural areas of each country. So, widespread access to such an inexpensive and sophisticated device has rather changed the landscape of e-learning in many ways. In fact, mobile learning can be considered as the next generation of e-learning . Mobile devices are not substitute for existing learning devices, but they serve as extension for learning in new environment having new capabilities, though, not all learning content and activities are appropriate for mobile devices . Mobile learning is characterized by its potential for learning to be spontaneous, informal, personalized and ubiquitous. Such learning is reinforced when people encounter shortage of free time as the result of working longer hours. In such an environment, busy people tend to use portable devices to learn new materials rather than taking time for traditional classroom-based courses.
There are some factors having key roles in the use of mobile devices in learning environments. Physical characteristics of a mobile phone such as its size and weight as well as input and output capabilities such as keypad vs. touchpad and screen size and audio functions are among the factors which should be assessed in this respect. The learner skills and his/her prior knowledge and experience with mobile devices for learning, as well as the learner's attitude towards the learning through mobile phone play a crucial role in the output quality of such a mobile-based tasks .
Most devices used in M-learning contexts are mobile phones, PDAs, and audio players (Chinnery,2006). Each of these devices carries specific attributes and functionalities, but the advances in mobile phone technology have covered other devices functionalities to some extent that makes it a multi-functional and technology convergence device (Kress & Pachler, 2007). In addition, Kress and Pachler assert while mobile phones are popular and wide spread among young people, curriculum developers try to use them in educational environments. They are much cheaper and more available than their counterparts such as laptops, palm tops or desk top computers. They not only support the transmission and delivery of multimedia content but also support discussion and discourse, real-time, synchronous and asynchronous, using voice, text and multimedia (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008; Traxler, 2009).There are some limitations with mobile phones to be used as educational devices. For example, reduced screen size, limited audiovisual quality, virtual keyboarding, and one-finger data entry are some of these limitations (Chinnery, 2006). However, the advances in technology are trying to solve these problems as they have introduced mobiles with bigger screen size and keypads that enables to have faster typing. It is difficult to present a single definition, for it deals with many different areas of technology, learning and education (Pachler & Cook, 2010). In fact, M-learning deals with concepts such as spontaneous, opportunistic, informal, pervasive, private, context-aware, bite-sized, and portable that makes it difficult to have a clear conceptualization of mobile learning (Traxler, 2009). Pachler and Cook (2010, p. 6) define M-learning as ?the processes of coming to know and being able to operate successfully in, and across, new and ever changing contexts and learning spaces with an emphasis on understanding and knowing how to utilize our everyday life-worlds as learning spaces.?