I've often thought that mobile learning is going to be an even more exciting development than traditional eLearning. Even in developing countries, mobile phones are well used (here in Thailand, I'm often embarrassed by how old my phone is compared to the young people on the SkyTrain). So their potential for unlocking a much more accessible approach for education is huge.
There is some interesting work going on in Europe, based on mobile phones. Lots of ideas are flying around like pervasive educational games for pupils, on-demand tutoring/mentoring for university students, making interactive location-based content using the mobile version of the Flash application...
There is a good research project, called emapps.com which has among its goals:
- "adaptable interactive tools (primarily games played on a mobile platform) with which to deliver learning objectives and which help to integrate the use of ICT in the delivery of the school curriculum;"
- "to build communities of creative, networking children in the NMS, generating their own cultural content and communicating with peer groups in other countries"
- "to make the multilingual and multicultural local content created during the games to be shared and repurposed for use in the wider eLearning context of schools and children".
Futurelab is an excellent UK research centre for ICT in education. They have produced a report called "Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning" which includes a number of casestudies.
Ericsson, the mobile phone company is doing some research on m-learning, and offers a nice overview presentation (PDF) and also an update on main EU activities in this area.
Mobilearn is a large scale EU project led by Giunti(an Italian LMS & multimedia company). The project has made available a great deal of handy resources.
Finally, I also came across Mobile Learning, a good blog keeping up to date on the issues.
Update (17/10/2006): I met with Teemu Leionen from FLOSSE Posse in Bangkok a few weeks ago, and he let me know about the MobilEd project, which is doing some interesting experiments using mobile wikis in low connectivity contexts in S. Africa.
Update (3/11/2006): Howard Rheingold recently posted about free mobile phones for teenagers supported by advertising in Finland. It would be interesting to see a similar initiative in developing countries.
Photo by Donknuth.