Following up on my work with mobile learning and mobile computing devices, I’m proud to announce that I will have a new book chapter coming out soon. Here’s the title and abstract info.

Using Mobile Devices to Support Formal, Informal & Semi-formal Learning
Uses and Implications for Teaching & Learning


Mobile devices are ubiquitous. They are often invisible to accomplish our everyday tasks and learning goals. This chapter explains how individuals learn using mobile devices during their daily lives—within K-12 schools, higher education, and outside of educational institutions altogether—with specific attention to STEAM disciplines. First, brief definitions of mobile devices and mobile learning are presented, then types of learning, i.e. formal, informal, and semi-formal, are discussed. Next, seven categories describe how mobile devices have been used for teaching and learning with examples as appropriate from STEAM disciplines: (a) increasing access to student information and campus resources, (b) increasing interaction with learning contents, (c) creating representations of knowledge, (d) augmenting face-to-face instruction, (e) supporting performance and decision-making, (f) enabling personalized learning, and (g) deploying instruction. Finally, five implications for employing mobile devices for teaching and learning are discussed.

Our chapter is part of a book titled, Full steam ahead: Emerging technologies for STEAM edited by Xun Ge, Mike Spector & Dirk Ifenthaler. If you would like to have a preprint copy of the chapter, just let me know.  It’s still in production right now.

Wish I could attend this webinar.  Hope you’ll attend and let me know what you learn:

Free eSeminar: Publishing to Mobile Devices at the University of Oregon

Thursday, November 10

10–11 a.m. PST; 1–2 p.m. EST

More and more companies seek highly skilled users and creators of electronic media, including mobile devices and apps. Learn how Ed Madison, graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon, uses the Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite to teach students — in majors ranging from design and photography to journalism and public relations — how to publish to tablets and other mobile devices.

Register now!



via Free eSeminar: Publishing to Mobile Devices.

QR codes at Union
Scanning QR codes at Union University

Image by Michael M Grant via Flickr

As part of my IDT 8600 course this semester, my students and I will conducting research into how teachers are using mobile computing devices in their classrooms.  To do this, we need your help!  We need to collect a list of great teachers who are doing great things with mobile teaching and learning.

If you’re one of these great teachers or you know one of these teachers, please complete the brief form below (or share this link with them so he or she can complete this short form).  We are looking for teachers at all levels — preschool, elementary, middle, and high school.

Scanning QR codes at Union University

Image by Michael M Grant via Flickr

My good friend, colleague, and doctoral student, Joanne Gikas, will be defending her dissertation next Wednesday.  The purpose of her study was to explore the changes to teaching and learning when faculty members implemented mobile computing devices in their classes.  She considered both faculty members’ perspectives and students’ perspectives in her qualitative research.  Here is a brief summary of her study:

The research questions focused on what impacts an instructor’s decision to implement mobile computing devices in teaching and how teaching and learning change when mobile computing devices are integrated into the learning environment. Three themes emerged from the data: (1) teaching with mobile computing devices, (2) learning with mobile computing devices and (3) training and support for higher education instructors and students. Teaching with mobile computing devices impacted instructional strategies and planning. Mobile computing devices impacted student learning by offering advantages, such as accessing information quickly, opportunities for collaboration and providing students a variety of ways to learn. Mobile computing devices also impacted the training and support model for instructors and students. Instructors were responsible for student training and institutions offered a mixed model of support for the instructor.  Mobile learning offers instructors and students more educational potential than simply accessing resources. Faculty members described evidence of institutional support and motivations to change their curricula, while exhibiting an interest in experimentation. Students applied what they were learning in courses through the mobile computing devices, and the devices contributed to their identities and learning.  While mobile computing in higher education is often perceived as pervasive, evidence from this study suggests we are still in the early adoption stage.

iPad Perspective Aurora
Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Beginning this Sunday, June 19, I will be attending and presenting at the Tennessee Education Mobilization Summit hosted by Walters State Community College.  This is a program sponsored by the Tennessee Board of Regents eLearning initiative, Walters State Community College, the Mid-East Tenessee Regional P-16 Council for Excellence in Education, and the Hamblen County Department of Education.  In addition to a focus on mobile computing devices/technologies, there will also be an emphasis on Google Tools and the move to the cloud.  Here’s an abbreviated list of the topic and some of the presenters.

  1. James Kelley, Education Technology Consultant Higher Education Leadership & Creative Markets Apple Education Group
  2. Kevin Roberts & George Saltsman, Abilene Christian University (ACU)
  3. Dennis Bega, United States Department of Education, Atlanta Office
  4. Wade MaCamey & Lori Campbell (WSCC)
  5. Dale Lynch, HCBOE
  6. Glen Clem, Griffin Technology
  7. Tristan Denley, APSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  8. Gerry Hanley & Cathy Swift, MERLOT – Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching
  9. Bill Hughes & Debra Volzer, Pearson
  10. Scott Nance, GALE & Cengage
  11. Aimee Tait & Todd Svec, McGraw Hill
  12. Margaret Askew, Elsevier
  13. Terry Countermine & Carolyn Novak, ETSU Emerging Technology Center
  14. Karen Dale, Mobile Music Composer, CSTCC
  15. Terri Blevins, Practical Nursing Director, TTC Elizabethton
  16. Mohan Vasanth, MOBL21, Web Base App Development
  17. TBR Library Deans/Directors: TBR Mobile App Library

I’m really excited about heraring from Abilene Christian University’s team of CIO, etc. with their initiative. In addition, I’ll be presenting on a number of topics with Google Docs, QR codes, and my MOBL 21 pilots.  I think I’m also giving a hands-on iPad training … but I don’t have an iPad 2 yet.  Eek!  Gotta figure that one out.  What would you like for me to pay attention to and bring back?

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Image via Wikipedia

Over the next few days, I will be attending the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital‘s Cure4Kids Global Summit.  (That’s a mouthful!)  A description from the website says:

The aim of this three-day conference is to improve health and science education in classrooms and communities around the world. It will bring together leading educators, innovators, and pioneers in a multidisciplinary forum to promote improvements and innovations in health and science education. This exceptional event will connect people from diverse communities and professional backgrounds and offer unique opportunities for networking and building collaborations.

The lead organizer for the conference, Dr. Yuri Quintana, asked me a few months ago to participate in the conference.  I wasn’t really sure what I could contribute to a conference on healthcare.  However, I was informed that this conference has a focus on elearning and multimedia, as well as teacher education and community outreach.  Those things I know about.

In particular, I will be presenting on a few different topics over the course of the conference. First, I’ll be presenting on some research that I have been lucky to be part of that is being led by Dr. Jong-pil Cheon, a good friend (and former student) of mine.  I’ll be discussing two of his studies on cognitive load theory. Second, I’ll be presenting a workshop on mobile teaching and learning strategies. Lastly, Dr. Quintana asked if I would participate in a panel session on futures thinking with me focusing on mobile learning and computing.

Here’s an abstract on two of the presentations:

Interface Design and Cognitive Load: What Matters and How It’s Measured
Highly interactive and sophisticated user interfaces have become the norm on the Web. Using technologies, such as Adobe Flash, AJAX/Javascript, and promises of HTML 5, bring a level of interest and panache to e-learning content. However, the value of these technologies and the tools used to cre- ate them are suspect with little research. Cognitive load theorists consider the limitations of working memory, partitioning it into three types: intrinsic, germane, and extraneous loads. Much research in cognitive load theory has focused on reducing extraneous loads to users. In two recent studies, we considered the elements of interface design and cognitive load. One study considered types of in- terfaces while the second considered ways to measure cognitive load with e-learning. Findings from these studies will be presented with implications for interface design.

Beyond Apps: Strategies for Making Teaching and Learning Mobile
Much of the electronic press and hype dedicated to m-learning initiatives focuses on implementations with a single platform or device. However, one of the significant promises of mobile learning is the ability for teachers and students to use their own mobile computing devices. In this hands-on session, we’ll take a look at strategies for teaching and learning that are appropriate for a variety of mobile computing devices and platforms. This session is BYOM: Bring Your Own Mobile!

Scanning QR codes at Union University

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to let you know about two graduate courses I will be teaching this summer.  Both are during the first summer term (June 4 – July 6, 2011).  The brief descriptions are below.  Feel free to email me about either course.

IDT 7078/8078: Mobile Teaching & Learning

This special topics seminar will be focused on the current landscape of mobile teaching and learning.  We’ll consider devices to support mobile teaching and learning, as well as the instructional strategies and apps that can support a mobile computing initiative.  Since this is a seminar, my plan is to offer a more open plan for course goals, so that you may investigate and spend time with a variety of topic of interest to you.  I plan to have a significant number of guest speakers from around the country via video conferencing highlight their programs and lessons learned.  This course will be completely online using synchronous conferencing technologies.  The course dates are June 4 – July 6, 2011.

IDT 8500: Evaluation & Synthesis of Research in IDT

This doctoral-level course will focus on academic writing.  We will work on the structure of scientific reports and how to write for academic audiences.  We will critique academic research findings and synthesize research findings into an original, coherent and structured document. This course will meet face-to-face and will have time allotted for students to read and write.  Their will be plenty of feedback.  The course dates are June 4 – July 6, 2011.


If you have questions about either of these course, I’d be happy to answer those. Feel free to email me.

Math Center
Workshop at Union University
Image by Michael M Grant via Flickr

One of the highlights of my semester is the invitation I receive regularly from Dr. Anna Clifford to visit her technology integration courses at Union University.  During this January term, she is teaching a graduate course for inservice teachers.  So, we’re going to discuss using mobile devices to support teaching and learning.  This should be a lot of fun!

In the past, we’ve discussed Web 2.0, but today I’m going to focus on mobile teaching and learning.  Specifically, we’re going to look at:

Here is the slide deck for today’s presentation:

[slideshare id=6686622&doc=making-tl-mobile-slideshare-110124122223-phpapp02]
Mobile learning environment

In a previous post, I blogged out loud about my concern for misusing/overusing the term mobile learning, or mlearning.  In fact, a recent post and nudging by Michael Barbour got me to start putting some thoughts down that I’ve been mulling over for a while.  Plus, I have a very talented student right now who is working on a dissertation about mobile learning in higher education, and she has caused me to spend some sleepless nights thinking a lot about this. So, here’s a start to something that I hope will grow into more finalized.  I would really like to have your thoughts about this, so please comment and ask questions.

The definitions of mobile learning that I’ve read and have found, I believe are incomplete. For example:

I particularly like the direction and indecisiveness that Dr. Traxler (e.g., 2005, 2007, 2010) puts on the difficulty in defining mobile learning in a number of his articles on defining mobile learning.  Still, I think these definitions do not ask all the questions appropriate to mobile learning. I believe folks have been defining mobile learning, and trying to define a mobile learning environment.

Pushing my thinking even further, Dr. So (2010) in a presentation at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology asked me to consider the relationships among mobile learning, elearning, and distance learning.  He suggested that many people would argue that mobile learning and elearning were subsets of distance learning.

However, he posited that mobile learning (and elearning for that matter) were more likely derivations of distance learning, sharing specific traits but also retaining unique characteristics.

I really liked where this line of thinking was taking me, so I began to think about what mobile learning meant for teaching and learning.  In almost all of the cases I’ve read, the emphasis had been on the learner and the learning, and I like this concentration.  However, I think the current definitions do not do justice to the other components in learning environments, namely the teacher, the content, and the learning system, which in this case is the mobile computing device.  So, I’m begining to play around with this diagram:

By looking at all of the pieces in a mobile learning environment, I think it forces us to consider theoretical foundations for practices and avenues to take advantages of the mobile computing devices.  In particular, it begs the following questions:

  1. What does it mean if the teacher/trainer/facilitator is mobile?
  2. What does it mean if the device or system is mobile?
  3. What does it mean if the learner is mobile?
  4. What does it mean if the learning content is mobile?

I am planning a follow-up post about this diagram and how I think existing and future mobile teaching and learning strategies fit in.  What are your thoughts so far?  Please let me know.

Herrington, J., Herrington, A., Mantei, J., Olney, I. & Ferry, B. (2009). Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning, in J. Herrington, A. Herrington, J. Mantei, I. Olney, & B. Ferry (eds.), New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, Australia.

Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET ). (2009). What is mobile learning? Retrieved December 30, 2009, from
Motiwalla, L.F. (2007). Mobile learning: A framework and evaluation. Computers & Education, 49, 581-596.

Quinn, C. (2000). mLearning. Mobile, Wireless, In-Your-Pocket Learning. Linezine. Fall 2000. Available at

So, S. (2010, October 27). Pedagogical and technological considerations of mobile learning. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Anaheim, CA.

Traxler, J. (2005). Defining mobile learning. IADIS International Conference Mobile Learning.

Traxler, J. (2007). Defining, discussing and evaluating mobile learning: The moving finger writes and having writ…The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(2). Avaiable at

Traxler, J. (2010). Distance education and mobile learning: Catching up, taking stock. Distance Education, 31(2), 129-138.


In my interest to wade through what is mobile learning and what’s not, I’m being to formulate a theoretical framework as well as a practical one that’s mulling through my head.  Yesterday, Thomas Cochrane shared a Prezi deck about how his school is using mobile learning devices into their curriculum.  He briefly explains the presentations as:

MLearning – Outline of framework for bridging learning contexts and facilitating student-generated content and collaboration via WMDs (Wireless Mobile Devices).

I really the alignment that he and his school are considering as well as identifying specifics tools to address specific learning goals.  While I don’t like calling the devices WMDs (that brings up connotations of Weapons of Mass Destruction), I do like how they are using them. You can see the deck below: