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Researching Mobile Learning

Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs

Edited By Giasemi Vavoula, Norbert Pachler and Agnes Kukulska-Hulme

Learning with mobile technologies is an emerging field with a developing research agenda and many questions surrounding the suitability of traditional research methods to investigate and evaluate the new learning experiences associated with mobility and support for increasingly informal learning. This book sets out the issues and requirements for mobile learning research, and presents recent efforts to specify appropriate theoretical frameworks, research methods and tools. Through their accounts of particular mobile learning projects, leading researchers in the field present their experiences and approaches to key aspects of mobile learning research such as data capture and analysis, and offer structured guidance and suggestions on adopting and extending these approaches.

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Foreword ixDiana Laurillard

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Foreword Diana Laurillard The feature of “mobility” can seem a curious way to delineate a field of research on learning. It is a field defined entirely by one particular feature of a digital technology that marks it out from other technologies: the fact of its mobility. A mobile technology typically embodies digital capabilities already familiar to us, and yet the simple fact of its mobility has generated a new research field, now reified in books, journals, conferences, and an entry in Wikipedia. To understand the importance of a new digital technology, and to appreciate why it might have a particular role to play, it can sometimes be valuable to relocate our thinking in the familiarity of the equivalent old technologies. The use of “mobile learning” – learning that is supported across contexts and life transitions – is what learners have always done, using the conventional technologies of books, pencils and notebooks. Why should it be worth investigating now? The familiarity of these technolo- gies renders mobile learning unsurprising and unproblematic. However, the parallel is not with the way we value them now, but with the impact they had then, on their initial introduction into the world of education. Historically, the impact of the printed book was powerful – no longer the hand-crafted treasure chained to the library desk, it became an object of personal ownership. The impact of paper as a technology available to everyone, not just an elite, was critical to the rise of literacy as it supported the individual in the...

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