How Mobile Technologies Are Changing the Way Children Learn
This chapter describes how mobile technologies are transforming learning in children. Several researchers have suggested that the world is entering a new era of technology-enhanced learning, characterized as mobile learning, seamless learning, and ubiquitous learning. Central to these notions is the idea that mobile technologies can be designed to enable children to move in and out of overlapping physical, digital, and communicative spaces. It is assumed that mobile technologies provide continuity across various learning experiences, enabling children to make connections between what they are observing, collecting, accessing, and thinking about over time, place, and people. There is an ongoing debate about how this kind of mobile learning can encourage new forms of social interaction, thinking, or reflection. Several researchers have sought to explain the principles behind mobile learning. Some have proposed existing learning theories, such as constructivism; others have suggested that new theories are needed. A number of mobile applications and tools have been developed to augment learning. These can be classified into four types: physical exercise games, participatory simulations, field trips and visits, and content creation. A review of the literature on mobile learning reveals three main benefits of mobile learning, as compared with the sedentary PC-based learning. First, using mobile devices in the wild can be highly motivating, increasing children's engagement with their learning. Second, being mobile while learning can encourage children to participate more, facilitating a diversity of key social and cognitive processes. Third, it offers quite different forms of information flow and information management compared with the conventional use of PCs, enabling children to better integrate their ideas and knowledge with ongoing physical activities.