The ninth session that I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference is:
An International Perspective on Mobile Learning
Barbara Fedock, World Virtual School, United States, World Virtual School, United States
Diana Muir, World Virtual School, United States, World Virtual School, United States
When considering mobile learning in the international arena, the definition of mobile learning takes on broader meaning. First world countries have advantages such as infrastructure, connectivity, and technology which make mobile learning readily available. In 2nd and 3rd world countries, cost, connectivity, availability of mobile devices, bandwidth, and technology transfer restrictions become major issues. All can be overcome if a few adjustments in curriculum development and delivery method are made. Local culture, needs and resources must be considered, language barriers can be overcome, and cost can be mediated. All is possible with an understanding of new technology and methodology.
The presenter began by defining mobile learning as learning anywhere, anytime with any kind of device (from a pencil to a tablet to a computer to a phone). She then went through several quite small, blurry slides that provided statistics about the level of Internet and mobile device proliferation in countries worldwide, followed by information about Internet speed and cost in various countries.
The presenter then described a slide which listed the types of courses that were demanded by various countries around the world – I suspect based on the survey that I described in the entry on “Looking For Information – World Virtual School.” This was followed by reasons why people would make these choices (e.g., political climate, gender, local needs, literacy rates, etc.). And this was followed by more statistics about types of hardware and software used in various countries. One of the specific pieces of hardware that was highlighted, was a device called Porta-School, and how the World Virtual School supports that work.