Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development (XI). Magí Almirall: Learning technologies in mobile scenarios

Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning VII International Seminar: Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development, held in Casa Asia, Barcelona, Spain, on October 6-7, 2010. More notes on this event: eLChair10.

Learning technologies in mobile scenarios
Magí Almirall, Office of Learning Technologies, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Spain

In ancient Greece, learning was a collective activity, and a pedagogue was usually a slave that walked along with you to help you in understanding the world. These are the roots of mobile learning: collective knowledge sharing with no boundaries of time or space.

A set of projects were designed to adapt mobile learning scenarios from a user-centered design (UCD) perspective

It is very important keeping the user in mind when designing a learning initiative (at the technical and also at the non-technical levels).

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The project consisted in analysing how users (UOC students) were studying online and, after that, 6 projects to adapt the learning process were designed to improve their learning experience:

  • My Way: that adapted content to be delivered in many different supports, like audiobooks (including Daisy for visually impaired people), videobooks, ePub, MobiPocket, etc. The idea leading the project is that the best learning content format depends on the scenario.
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  • Annotation: this project allows including Layers to your own content. Layers organize your activity, can be shared, sent to the student, etc. Learners will define uses that we may not imagine, test and observe it.
  • Mobile Classroom: a project to put your virtual classroom on your mobile phone, but selecting only what makes sense on a mobile phone. The idea behind the project is bringing the student the alerts they might need at the appropriate time.
  • Mobile widgets: content and services from the online campus are created for the iPad interface, campus mobile, campus e-book, etc. so that the most relevant campus services are accessible in these mobile devices. The idea is to bring the same information for any device… which at its turn is quite a challenge, as devices are many and new ones appearing each and every day.
  • Foreign languages self-assessment: Mobile scenarios need more interactive contents, that’s why language teaching has a more interactive approach (quizzes, self-assessment activities) in the mobile scenario in comparison with a stationary scenario, where other kind of more static content can be displayed.
  • the goal of this project is to connect the virtual campus with any kind of platform, service, content existing on the Internet and bring it into the virtual campus. Interoperability is used to connect with other institutions, to expand the own learning tools, etc.


Steve Vosloo: How is content processed or developed to be adapted to any format? A: If content is written in DocBook, then translation to other formats is almost straightforward. On the other hand, people’d rather have video formats for their small devices, and would rather have iPads for content, as they are more friendly that other screens.

Ismael Peña-López: Most projects here presented were about content-student interaction. Are there any projects that deal with person-to-person interaction? A: There are two ongoing projects in this line. One is called Speak Apps and it is about adapting the Tandem platform to the mobile world. The Tandem platform enables students in differents parts of the world to team up and study foreing languages, the languages being respectively foreign or their native ones. Another project is adapting the Langblog platform for mobiles.


UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning VII International Seminar: Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development (2010)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development (XI). Magí Almirall: Learning technologies in mobile scenarios” In ICTlogy, #85, October 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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