Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G. & Sharples, M. (2005) Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning. Report 11, NESTA Futurelab. Bristol: NESTA Futurelab.
Mobile technologies are a familiar part of the lives of most teachers and students in the UK today. We take it for granted that we can talk to other people at any time, from wherever we may be; we are beginning to see it as normal that we can access information, take photographs, record our thoughts with one device, and that we can share these with our friends, colleagues or the wider world. Newer developments in mobile phone technology are also beginning to offer the potential for rich multimedia experiences and for location-specific resources.
The challenge for educators and designers, however, is one of understanding and exploring how best we might use these resources to support learning. That we need to do this is clear – how much sense does it make to continue to exclude from schools, powerful technologies that are seen as a normal part of everyday life? At the present time, however, the models for using and developing mobile applications for learning are somewhat lacking.
This review provides a rich vision of the current and potential future developments in this area. It moves away from the dominant view of mobile learning as an isolated activity to explore mobile learning as a rich, collaborative and conversational experience, whether in classrooms, homes or the streets of a city. It asks how we might draw on existing theories of learning to help us evaluate the most relevant applications of mobile technologies in education. It describes outstanding projects currently under development in the UK and around the world and it explores what the future might hold for learning with mobile technologies.