Ben Brautigam is the manager, advanced learning projects, with Teaching and Learning with Technology.
What got you interested in mobile learning?
Understanding that ‘mobile learning’ is a rather broad term, what interests me most are the learning and teaching possibilities with mobile devices. No longer are students tethered to desks and classrooms. Instead they can research, collaborate with peers, and receive feedback regardless of location by utilizing the devices they use everyday.
What are some benefits of mobile learning?
It’s a long list, but a few key benefits are convenience, enhanced content, and increased motivation. A mobile device is most likely already in a student’s pocket, and if not, readily available and cost effective. Faculty are able to integrate features like apps, multimedia, educational gaming, and location-based software into their courses, and in most cases students would prefer to use a device they already know and love anyway.
Can you give an example (or a few examples) of mobile learning’s effectiveness?
If you look at mobile learning through the lens of online education you will see it becomes an extremely effective tool for bridging cultural and communication gaps. Students from differing states and even countries can learn and collaborate together in the same course. They are able to share their own experiences in a group setting and learn from the course and from each other. This benefit alone is a great example of how technology can not only better the classroom experience, but enrich the learning experience as well.
What would you like to see Penn State become more involved in as far mobile learning is concerned?
Penn State is already a leader in educational technology. There is a sense of innovation and attention to detail here that is unmatched. I would like to see a continuation of these efforts to bring the latest technologies to students and faculty. By embracing the possibilities of mobile learning we can work to provide the best products and services available.
How can an interested faculty member get started using mobile devices in their courses?
An easy and effective way to use mobile technologies in a classroom setting is to research potential apps that correlate with the course material. There are some amazing educational apps available that can enhance and clarify content more effectively than a printed page or slide. Another option is to integrate an ebook into the course that can present content using a more interactive medium. Also, some PSU services students and faculty already utilize, such as Yammer, have accompanying mobile applications for a variety of devices.