Connecting dots of digital learning

Mobile Learning Curriculum Framework (MLCF)

The Mobile Learning Curriculum Framework is a framework that is in a state of perpetual beta. The Framework is build in order to enable all educational institutes and schools to implement mobile learning in their existing or future curriculum. The MLCF is open science, so open to all.

In the wake of a telecommunications landscape that has dramatically changed, accesses to Mobile devices have become ubiquitous worldwide. This has impacted on nearly every sphere of society as mobility and connectedness becomes more predominant. The education domain has not been exempt to the tidal wave of innovation and in the last decade or so there have been many examples of successful mobile learning pilots and practitioner-led innovation and implementation in the use of mobile devices to support teaching and learning. Mobile learning is now part and parcel of a new learning landscape resulting from the availability of the technologies and confronts education systems with as many responsibilities as opportunities.

These responsibilities as opportunities have been thoroughly interrogated in the UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning. This comprehensive set of papers articulates various mobile technology support strategies towards the United Nations Education for All goal within the educational contexts. It outlines instances where mobile technology has enriched formal schooling through personalisation and added a flexible dimension as well as extending the geographical and social reach of the education system. As such a review of these issues here are mute.

As the conversations change from whether Mobile Learning is a strategic option to how Mobile Learning can be operationalised, the question of facilitator competence is raised time and again. This endeavour was initiated in response to an international need for some type of training or formalised academic intervention.

This mobile learning curriculum is a first attempt to systematically and comprehensively explore where and how mobiles should appear within educational provision. The various headings (themes) and sub-headings (modules) embody a taxonomy, a way of representing and organising themes and content. The endeavour assumed that learning with mobiles is only part of a wider interaction between technology, in this case mobile technology, and society. 

The Framework presents itself through three broad learning as

  • to know about mobile learning,
  • to be able to facilitate mobile learning and
  • to understand the implications of implementing mobile learning.

Each of these is linked to some sample outcomes mapped to different levels of competencies. Assessment is covered as a generic issue relevant to Mobile Learning and would have to be specified through the process of implementation.

Clearly, there are several additional challenges and concerns. Many of these cluster around, on the one hand ensuring authentic teaching and learning (that the medium and the message are aligned), and on the other hand appropriate and consensual agency, safety and control. The balance between these within any institution and its students will depend on the history, culture and ethos of the institution and its hinterland, the maturity of the students, the capacity of the teachers and the nature and extent of resources.

The individual themes and modules are subject to rapid change and some key challenges envisaged are those of being relevant, being balanced, staying topical and anticipating change. These are particularly critical in the current fast-changing technology environment.

This document then consists of two parts. Part 1 outlines the Mobile Learning Curriculum Framework in which a bouquet of themes and modules are outlined for inclusion in a course. Part 2 presents examples of the curriculum that have been adapted and the resulting courseware that was developed. The Mobile Learning Curriculum Framework website can be viewed here: https://mobilelearningcurriculumframework.wikispaces.com/

Citation:

Botha, A. ed., 2012 Mobile Learning Curriculum Framework, CSIR Meraka Collaboration (in press).

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