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Mobile learning (m-learning) is a current development that supports pedagogy. It enables students to learn in environments that do not necessarily have formal structures. The current student is more experiential hence seeks to relate with the physical environment.
Mobile learning enables students to learn in any environment they maybe in- a bus, park, or any other place apart from a class. This paper discusses the impact of m-learning in pedagogy.
Despite the positive impact of m-learning in pedagogy, it is associated with some negativity. Due to lack of a formal environment, students will not get an opportunity to enjoy formal interaction between them and their teachers (Cobcroft, Towers, Smith & Bruns, 2006).
They do not get the chance to ask questions where they do not understand and especially in the case of English. The use of mobile learning leads to “lack of teacher confidence, training, and technical difficulties with devices used” (Facer, Faux, & McFarlane, 2005).
Grade 5 IT students may be more drilled to m-learning compared with formal learning hence may develop a disregard for the latter. The notion that they have more control over their learning process increases their reliance on the digital tools and not on their teachers or fellow peers.
The m-learning process does not allow for assessments and exchange of feedback. M-learning is deemed a threat to the structured style of learning. Keough (2005) also points out that m-learning is a technology that is based on concept and not every student may have the opportunity to use it.
As a result, there may be division in class as those students with the m-learning devices deem themselves as being a notch higher than the rest of the students and the teachers. This would be the ideal case for IT students because they are able to manipulate these devices.
In addition, technologies such as these may be hard to use and especially for the English students.
M-learning is still a new technology and just like any other technology, is bound to change and grow. Therefore, it is not a standard mode of learning that is widely recognized: lacks a curriculum that can be followed by subsequent generations.
M-learning therefore should be incorporated with other models of learning that are considered acceptable (Muyinda, 2007). The m-learning is not reflective since one just takes-up information contained in these devices yet it may not be credible (Laurillard, 2007).
Relevance of Conversational Framework
The conversational framework is an ideal guide for formal education in that it guides tutors on how to develop and implement effective teaching styles. It is a web-like framework marked by distinct interactive patterns that govern the pedagogical process.
It ensures that learning maintains a teacher directed pedagogical approach but in an interactive manner that gives students the opportunity to explore the physical environment.
In an English class for example, the conversational framework guides towards an interaction between the teacher and the students and this is beneficial compared with a traditional teacher-centred framework (Laurillard, 2007).
English is a social subject that requires exchange of ideas through brainstorming, discussions, and asking questions. There is also interaction among the students based on what each one of them has learned in the various informal settings.
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These kinds of interactions results in iterative dialogue that enables the students to understand the subject better (Laurillard, 2002).
An interactive approach is also imperative for IT students since updates in this field are continual and may require transfer of certain applications like software and certain files.
The conversational framework is applicable in this case as well since theory during discursive learning is the basis for further discussion in experiential processes. During discursive learning the students can ask about what they learnt and the teacher may respond with reference to the theory.
Once this has been articulately understood by the students, they are in a better position to apply their self-gained knowledge as augmented by the teacher’s understanding and knowledge to understand information obtained from the mobile devices.
The conversational framework gives room for reflection as both the teachers and students try to integrate their views to get a better and broader understanding of the subject in question (Laurillard, 2007).
Students are able to delve deep into their surrounding environments and learn as much as they can with the help of their teacher and peers.
My Own Opinion
The emergence of m-learning has greatly enhanced the pedagogical process because learning is not restricted to the formal class set up. The m-learning has some hitches which can be counteracted by the conversational framework.
The conversational framework is an ideal model that applies to various types of learning. It helps to modify the learning style so that it takes a more interactive and practical approach.
In the age of m-learning in which students are likely to develop a greater control over their learning to the extent of disregarding the importance of a teacher, the conversational framework helps to control this.
This is because the conversational framework incorporates the m-learning process with the formal process to create a teacher-student structure. Students therefore are able to learn more through sharing their learning experiences among themselves and with their teacher.
Cobcroft, R., Towers, S., Smith, J., & Bruns, A. (2006). Mobile learning in review: Opportunities and challenges for learners, teachers, and institutions. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching (OLT) Conference 2006. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.
Facer, K., Faux, F., & McFarlane, A. (2005). Challenges and opportunities: Making mobile learning a reality in schools. Proceedings of mLearn 2005. Retrieved from http://www.mlearn.org.za/
Keough, M. (2005). 7 reasons why mlearning doesn’t work. Retrieved from http://www.mlearn.org.za/
Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University teaching: a conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies (2nd ed.). London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Laurillard, D. Pedagogical forms for mobile learning: framing research questions. (2007). In N. Pachler (ed.), Mobile learning: towards a research agenda. London: WLECentre, IoE.
Muyinda, P. (2007). MLearning: pedagogical, technical and organisational hypes and realities. Emerald Insight, 24(2), 97-104.