Sukaina wrote a very interesting post on Mobile devices as open educational technologies in which she talks about access and affordances. I’d like to continue down this path and stress the importance of mobile technology and mobile devices for open education.
During this MOOC on Open Education, I have primarily used my iPad for reading and annotating texts, reading and commenting on blog and forum posts, participating in the Google+ group etc.
Being an open education learner with no physical lessons to show up for and with a full time job, I have to fit the learning in between work, family and spare time activities. So it’s been quite essential for me to have mobile access and to participate from anywhere at any time. I’ve been doing quite a lot of work during evenings sitting in my favourite arm chair with my iPad and full access to the world. Another favourite place of study has been beside the swimming pool waiting for my daughter to finish her synchronized swimming practice.
Mobile technology and mobile devices are essential to the open learner because it helps you fit the learning into your particular context and so makes participation possible for a larger number of people.
In my experience mobile apps provide the learner with a great overview of activities and connections. I’ve really enjoyed the visual and compelling interface of the Google+ app and the detailed WordPress app. Both apps make it very easy and quick to connect and engage with other learners.
I have come across a few obstacles though. For a few of my MOOC activities, I’ve had to refer to my laptop to be able to participate. It’s not been possible for me to comment on Blogspot posts on my iPad. When commenting, you need to choose a sign in method and type a code. I haven’t managed to make this work. I wasn’t able to participate in the live sessions in Blackboard Collaborate on my iPad either. Seems that iPad doesn’t support this. So it seems that mobile devices do not fully support learner activities in open education as yet. But it’s probably only a matter of time…