This week I’ve started participating in a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) on mobile learning. The opening week’s topic asked how I use mobile learning. I have to admit that mobile learning is a fairly new thing for me, as it’s only in the last 18 months that I’ve had an appropriate device. Perhaps I should try to define “appropriate device”. My first cell phone was a Motorola C139. I think it might have had a web browser, but the screen was so small and the connection so slow that I never used it. It was only when I got a smartphone that I started developing an interest in m-learning.
At least I think it’s an interest in m-learning. I worry that I may fall into the trap that this post tells you to avoid. My smartphone is so smart that it is really a pocket computer running a touchscreen optimized OS that happens to have a cell phone radio in it. That combined with the fact that I work in elearning at a traditional higher ed institution, means that I see mlearning through a traditional lens of course objectives and credit hours, even though I don’t learn with my mobile device that way. Having a smartphone has moved the gigantic information repositiory of the global Internet from my desktop to my pocket (at least until the battery dies). The just in timeness of it all is amazing, but I question whether it would work for learning that isn’t snippet sized, and I do believe that much of the most important learning we do happens in bigger-than-snippet sized portions.
The other way in which having a smartphone has changed how I learn is by making my Personal Learning Network more accessible. I tend to use twitter rather than facebook for keeping up with my informal professional peer network. Surprisingly (or maybe not), the learning that happens here is serendipitous. Rather than posting a question and waiting for a response, I’ll see something of interest posted by someone I follow and use that as a jumping off point.