Our vision recognises technologies are becoming commonplace within everyday lives but can also be used as powerful tools for learning and development in and outside of the traditional education environment. Our aim is to improve and embed mobile technologies (handhelds) within mainstream learning.
This will be achieved by
- integrating training on mobile learning (mlearning) within initial teacher training and in service training/continuous professional development programmes (CPD)
- challenging teachers to think creatively about mobile learning and its potential applications
- developing their confidence to try new ideas within the whole school curriculum individually and collaboratively.
- be inclusive: A Dialogue among Educators, Industry, Government and Civil Society recommends the development of national/regional policies and school-level ICT plans that promote the use of accessible ICTs to ensure inclusive education for all (UNESCO, Accessible ICTs and Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities: 2011a).
mlearning refers to the use of mobile technologies in teaching and learning. Technologies range from mobile phones to games consoles, low cost laptops to media players, social media platforms to media sharing networks and more in a world where learners are becoming more connected. New technological developments have the power to transform society, the way we learn, work, play, communicate and interact. 90% of teenagers own some sort of personal media device. This may be an MP3 player, mobile phone, PSP etc. It is a technology that young people know and enjoy. They use them for entertainment, to communicate, to create and to share. However, on the whole these devices are banned in schools. Many educators are now asking whether these mobile technologies can aid teaching and learning, and should actually be embraced rather than discouraged.
Teachers are crucial change makers and key to interaction with new technological environments in their engagement and delivery practices. The project responds to the JRC Scientific and Policy Report “Key Elements for Developing Creative Classrooms in Europe (2012)”; and ET2020 Objective 4 in enhancing innovation and mainstreaming the use of ICT in national policies and practices. The new programme will be inserted onto ECVET and the Comenius in-service training database. Supporting implementation of the ECVET framework high on the list of priorities as laid down in the Bologna, Copenhagen Process and Lisbon Treaty. Our focus on shared approaches to teacher training reflects our commitment to this.
Handheld devices cost less than traditional ICT and can be used anywhere and everywhere, 24/7. We must consider the impact on learning of a personal device that accompanies a learner throughout the school day and goes home with him/her so learning can continue. Using smaller and more mobile technologies gives the potential to equip each learner with a device, which can accompany them anywhere. This creates the potential for learning that is more personalised, inclusive, that extends beyond the classroom and provides scope for more independent learning.
Current experience supported by recent research shows that using mlearning can impact effectively and positively on teaching and learning, independent learning and personalisation, behaviour in and outside of the classroom, attainment and progression and leadership. For teachers it can support communications, self assessment to allow teachers to reflect on their practice, knowledge exchange and innovation through creativity. Crucially, the teachers tasked with supporting innovation in mlearning, must have the necessary skills, knowledge and awareness required to understand and exploit the opportunities on offer – we are responding to this need with the development of innovative training programmes, to be transferable across Europe by being inserted on ECVET and within the Comenius in service training database.
Digital technology offers opportunities to engage young people in new, more meaningful/relevant ways and enable their participation in building a more resilient, flexible and creative approach to learning and teaching. These impacts won’t come from the technology alone, but from the way a service is designed, and the values built into it.