Guest Editorial: Special Issue on Mobile and Ubiquitous Technologies for Learning


Sharples, M., & Roschelle, J. (2010). Guest editorial: Special issue on mobile and ubiquitous technologies for learning. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 3(1), 4-5.


Mobile learning is the study of how to harness personal and portable technologies for effective education. The term also covers research into technology-enabled learning across contexts and learning in an increasingly mobile society.

The first phase of mobile learning, originating more than 60 years ago, 1 was to equip classrooms and lecture theatres with handheld response systems to aggregate individual responses from students and to provoke discussion based on differences in answers to open response questions. The more recent technologies of graphing calculators and wireless handheld devices offer new learning opportunities for rapid sharing of data and knowledge, simulation and visualization, and computer-managed groupwork .

The second phase was strongly influenced by two major projects funded by the European Commission, MOBIlearn and m-Learning, with related efforts occurring across the globe. These projects explored the opportunities for learning with mobile technologies in nonformal settings, including homes, museums, workplaces, and outdoors. The emphasis of these projects was on the mobility of the learner and support for learning across contexts and life transitions. Studies by Livingstone and colleagues have shown that adults, on average, engage in 13-17 hours per week of active learning and this is maintained throughout their lifetimes. Yet, less than 5 percent of this learning is within a school or formal education setting. So, we have a significant opportunity for personal technology to support the other 95 percent of lifelong learning.

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