Mobile devices have become a ubiquitous feature of our societies. Anywhere you look you can see people playing with their Mp3 players, iPods, iPads, tablets, smart phones, e-book readers and etc and I am by no means an exception to this crowd of mobile-tech users. But the question is if we are using these mobile devices for learning or gaming?!
Talking about myself, currently I enjoy having an MP3 Player, an iPad, a Laptop,a Smartphone, an e-book reader and USB drives which facilitate my accessing to information I want at any time and any place. I use these devices mainly for listening to Podcast & music, accessing online tutorials and lectures, looking up words in dictionaries, reading books and newspapers, e-mailing, writing assignments and submitting them, transferring data, communicating with friends and families , socializing , but rarely for playing games. looking at the main uses of such devices in my everyday life, I can surely say that I am a “Mobile-Learner” who utilizes these devices to retrieve the necessary information on the go.
According to the articles “Are You Ready for Mobile Learning” and “Research on Mobile Learning” the use of Mobile Learning or M-learning will be increased sharply in near future with many institutions and schools exploiting them as an integration to their courses to make them more accessible and portable. In addition, the number of portable computing devices will consistently increase and manufacturers and designers will add better features to the existing mobile devices to make them more powerful to meet the needs of their users and to make the information more readily accessible to these users.
One of the exciting videos that can demonstrate the future of Mobile Learning is Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design’s (CIID) “Window to the World” video:
To me the abbreviation MOOCS stands for Massive Open Online Courses that has opened the doors of many well-known universities to people from around the globe and has enabled them to access lectures and courses from the world’s best and most sophisticated universities such as MIT and Harvard. According to Tony Bates the teaching method and pedagogy utilized by many Open Online courses is based upon the behaviorist pedagogy with the main focus on transmission of knowledge and peer/computer assessment.
Compared to the regular programs offered by universities the Open Online Courses have more participants, are usually free and usually do not have entry requirements for their participants to attend the courses. The study mode in Open Online Courses is more self-directed as opposed to the traditional classrooms where the studies are normally teacher- directed. These courses has also facilitated Massive interaction and communication between students in a way that is not possible in traditional classrooms.
There are many MOOCS available from renowned universities such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale etc . A list of the Open Online Courses available in 2011 is available from this link: http://www.mooc.ca/courses.htm
Having said the benefits of MOOCS such as the ease of access, cost effectiveness, flexibility I believe they do not provide the best teaching solution YET. They need more research on their instructional design to produce courses that suit all learners. In addition, according to http://newsletter.alt.ac.uk/2012/08/mooc-pedagogy-the-challenges-of-developing-for-coursera/many of the existing MOOCS lack good organization and good support for the learners and are not very interactive and as a result not engaging enough which eventually results in students boredom and dropout. This calls for more research and studies in the future to improve the qualities of MOOCS.