Mobile technologies emerge as an innovative tool associated with different methods and strategies (Ferreira et al., 2015). Several educational resources are available for learners in the digital form which in turn, is accessible through mobile technology.
The increasing availability of open educational resources for mobile technology is making access to learning more affordable for anyone who wants to learn (Ally & Prieto, 2014). Several educational resources are available for learners in the digital form which in turn, is accessible through mobile technology.
Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous. This ubiquity and ease of access suggests that their use for mobile learning would be valuable for both students and teachers (Aubusson et al., 2009). Wide ranges of mobile applications are easily accessible for learners as well as teachers. These appliances are surpassing the barriers of cost, technology and market availability. This also indicates positive and upward movement of usage of mobile technology.
Mobile technologies were in common use in some commercial sectors, but their use purely for learning was rare. m-Learning lends itself to new methods of delivery, however, that are highly suited to the ‘just enough, just in time, and just for me’ demands of 21st Century learners(Peters, 2007).Though use of mobile phones is increasing day-by-day, using mobile phones purely for the academic purpose is limited.
For many educators, mobile technology in the field of teaching and learning has recently become one of the most important areas of research (Ally & Prieto, 2014). Since usage of mobile phones for non-academic purposes is increasing enormously, its potential can also be exploited to educational purposes.
In the future, more research should be conducted to transform education using mobile learning (Ally & Prieto, 2014). Recently, though educational research of mobile technologies is going on, much more is expected to meet the local demands as well.
Mobile technologies emerge as an innovative tool associated with different methods and strategies. The increasing availability of open educational resources for mobile technology is making access to learning more affordable for anyone who wants to learn. Several educational resources are available for learners in the digital form which in turn, is accessible through mobile technology. Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous. This ubiquity and ease of access suggests that their use for mobile learning would be valuable for both students and teachers. Wide ranges of mobile applications are easily accessible for learners as well as teachers. These appliances are surpassing the barriers of cost, technology and market availability. This also indicates positive and upward movement of usage of mobile technology.
Mobile technologies were in common use in some commercial sectors, but their use purely for learning was rare. Mobile learning lends itself to new methods of delivery, however, that are highly suited to the ‘just enough, just in time, and just for me’ demands of 21st century learners (Peters, 2007). Though the use of mobile phones is increasing day-by-day, the use of mobile phones purely for the academic purpose is limited.
For many educators, mobile technology in the field of teaching and learning has recently become one of the most important areas of research (Ally & Prieto, 2014). Since usage of mobile phones for non-academic purposes is increasing enormously, its potential can also be exploited to educational purposes. In the future, more research should be conducted to transform education using mobile learning (Ally & Prieto, 2014). Recently, though educational research of mobile technologies is going on, much more is expected to meet the local demands as well.
Mobile Technology and M-Learning
Cambridge dictionary (2018) defines mobile technology as “Electronic equipment such as mobile phones or small computers that you can use in different places, and the technology connected with them”. In other words, mobile technology can be an appliance such as tablets, iPods, laptops and smart phone that can be accessible from anywhere. The mobile technologies contribute to a teaching/learning process more motivating and personalized (Ferreira et al., 2015). Emerging from recent mobile technologies, mobile learning, or m‐learning, is beginning to offer stunning new technical capabilities in education (DiGiano et al., 2003). Contribution of mobile technologies is innovative and adds new dimensions to the existing teaching/ learning processes.
Teacher’s and Student’s Readiness
In semi-structured interviews to find out the opinion of teachers and students of higher education regarding their use of mobile technologies for teaching/ learning practices, the following information is found. Some engineering college teachers are allowing their students to use mobile phones in their classrooms for finding factual information. Some regional medium degree college teachers are making their students to use for mobiles for finding unknown words and pronunciation practice. Some teachers are using mobiles to download audio and video materials. Teachers are also sending notes and the other study material readily to students. Thus, a majority of the teachers are using mobiles for their teaching practices.
Students of higher education are using smart phones for various academic purposes: as a dictionary, calculator, for sharing notes, watching videos on experiments, etc. Their use may increase in the future.
The research findings show significant improvements in the learner performance and in their attitudes towards using m-technology in their learning (Song & Fox, 2005). Students’ improved performance is indicated through their increased academic use. Both teachers and students have positive attitude towards using mobiles for academic purposes.
Multiple Capabilities of Mobile Technology
Varied capabilities of mobile technologies include: tutor, self-learning tool, supporter tool, real-time assessment tool, storehouse, motivator, for team work, provides more personal services, it controls over curriculum, and some more special features.
It is often applied outside classrooms to complement formal educational systems (Eschenbrenner & Nah, 2007). Sometimes mobile technologies may replace a teacher, particularly outside the classroom. Tutors are too expensive to provide training to the masses, but mobile technologies provide the capability for training that can be tailored to the needs of the individual learner and diverse worksites (Peters, 2007). Mobiles can provide specific training in a cost-effective manner.
Mobile learning is a learning paradigm in which the learners with mobile devices have time and location independent access to learning resources (Eschenbrenner & Nah, 2007). Self-learning particularly for adults is available through the mobile technologies in the form of online courses, YouTube, etc.
University students opine mobile as a supporter tool, such as using as a calculator, text messaging and English dictionary (Taleba and Sohrab, 2012). Supporting tool for example, using the dictionary while accessing digital resources.
Real Time Assessment Tool
Mobile technology enables real-time assessment of student performance. Teachers can now embed quizzes in online content delivery and pupils can be evaluated on an on-going basis. This provides regular, real-time feedback to students and parents and allows teachers to see which students need extra help and which ones need more challenging assignments (West, 2013). Mobiles act as quick evaluators. Teachers can get feedback readily. Depending on their feedback, teachers can take decisions on their teaching practices.
Storehouse of data through digital resources in two forms: one is individual’s saved data for future use; the other is through search engines in the Internet.
When used as part of an effort to support the involvement of an active learning there is evidence that they can lead to increase students’ motivation and satisfaction (Ferriera et al., 2015). Students’ motivation increases with the use of these new technologies.
Collaborative actions and cooperation between student/student, student/teacher and student/class are increased when mobile devices are used in the classroom context (Ferreira et al., 2015). Team performance can be improved by using mobiles.
Mobile technologies are becoming more personal with the introduction of gesture-based interaction and affective computing. Devices can interpret gestures made by learners and respond appropriately based on the gesture. When a learner holds a mobile device, the device will read the physiological state of the learning to detect the learner’s emotions. Based on the emotion of the learner, the device will decide on what the learner should do next (Ally & Prieto, 2014). This particular use of mobile devices increases student interaction. Thus, it provides further learning atmosphere.
Control Over Curriculum
A wide range of new digital content is available includes: instructional games, augmented reality, interactive websites, and personalized instruction. It gives students greater control over their curriculum, thereby allowing students to proceed at their own pace and in their own learning styles (West, 2013).
The special features from mobile technologies are: greater efficiencies and effectiveness in learning, increased individual support and opportunities for personal development, better methods of collaborating and communicating and greater exposure to technology (Eschenbrenner & Nah, 2007). These enhanced features of new technologies give further scope for learning opportunities.
Barriers in Using Mobile Technology
Though there are several advantages of using mobile devices for academic purposes, there are few limitations as well, like any other technology. Mobiles’ adoption for educational use is limited, which was attributed to: the age and ability of teachers and trainers; the cost of providing m-learning devices and infrastructure; the slow rate of change in large educational institutions; and mobile devices are not designed with the education market in mind (Peters, 2007). Though some teachers lack ability and inclination to use mobiles, a majority of the teachers are already using. Ethical issues will arise that whether the teaching profession is ready to embrace this professional learning facilitated by evocative, powerful but intrusive m-technologies (Aubusson et al., 2009). At present, teachers do not oppose using of mobiles as they may intrude into their professional activities and dominate. Instead, teachers have accepted mobiles as teaching aids.
Universal availability of mobile devices and universal availability of cellular connectivity for these devices (West, 2013) are the notable advantages of mobiles. Ferriera et al.’s study (2015) shows a high growth rate of the use of mobile technology in higher education institutions in Portugal in very heterogeneous courses (Law, Management/Economics and Engineering). Teacher’s use of mobiles has been increasing day-by-day and some of academic utilities of mobiles are informal learning.
Embracing and institutionalizing mobile technology can transform learning. This would create impactful change in the current system and crucial to student development in the areas of critical-thinking and collaborative learning (West, 2013). These skills are essential particularly in the higher to compete for their future career and employment opportunities.
Having a mobile phone with various capabilities, having a long-life battery charging and access to the Internet and ability to pay for high technology mobile and different services, have significantly affected the mobile phone use in students’ academic affairs (Taleba and Sohrab, 2012). Multifaceted roles of mobile devices attract both learners and teachers towards using these devices for academic purposes. At present, the academic use of mobiles is increasing and in future also it may increase.
The key features of mobile learning identified are: its ability to provide learning that is ‘just in time, just enough and just for me’; learning that is situated (typically in the field or at the workplace); and learning that is contextualized through mediation with peers and teachers. While mobile devices are making some types of learning easier to access, they have the potential to deliver the kind of learning that in past times could only be done with a knowledgeable tutor working on-site, alongside the student (Peters, 2007). Mobile technology’s potential is not completely utilized but, it is in the process of utilization for the coming generations.
Mobile technologies have the capacity to add new dimensions to teacher professional learning. Mobile learning provides an unrealized opportunity for the facilitation of observation, critique and sharing of activities in the classroom (Aubusson et al., 2009). The special features of mobiles add new dimensions to the existing teaching practices.
This new genre of learning is viewed as a revolutionary stage in educational technology, since mobile technologies provide several varied and multi-faceted benefits. In the 21st century economy, students need a range of skills beyond traditional math, reading, and writing. Additional scope for skills can easily be exploited by both teachers and students. When students’ skills are improved, their opportunities also increase. With consumers driving the global uptake of mobile telephony, and the functionality of these devices, it appears that mobile learning does indeed have a place in mainstream education and training. It can allow teachers to move from delivery to the management of learning, and will help learners to gain specific skills of immediate value. At present, consumers’ use of mobile phones is increasing because of its improved features, thus, in future, its use for educational purpose also will increase. These mobile applications will add another layer to the learning and teaching processes. Until now, mobile applications add to the existing teaching and learning processes. In the future, some more new process will be added to the existing practices.