A workshop on wireless collaboration

What do mobile devices allow you to do in teaching and learning that you can’t do without them?

How might I incorporate active mobile learning into my teaching?

Proposed icon for use in Crestron Panel for selecting wireless presentationAfter noting sustained demand from staff and students, seemingly endless tinkering with a particular emerging technology, as well as sensing the way that certain educational winds are blowing, I’m excited to announce that a particular project I’ve been working on for a number of years gets its first proper public outing next month. At LEaD’s Learning at City conference on July 3rd, I will be co-delivering (with colleague James Rutherford) a workshop titled ‘Introducing active mobile learning: learn how to use wireless collaboration in your teaching‘.

This workshop does two things. As described in the title, it will showcase a tool that is largely being described as ‘wireless collaboration’ – essentially, a small box that routes content shared wirelessly from mobile devices (eg smartphones, tablets and laptops) to a common display such as a projector screen. This enables content held on mobile devices to be used in social contexts, and is thus an attempt to address what I have termed ‘the mobile learning paradox‘.

The second thing that this workshop does is scaffold the technology in a pedagogical approach, one that we are terming ‘active mobile learning’, or AML for short. Simply put, this is intended to signify making active use of mobile devices to support and/or augment teaching and learning, and particularly within social, face-to-face contexts. It is an approach intended to support doing things with mobile devices within physical learning spaces.

On active mobile learning

Although learning supported by mobile computing devices has been in existence as an acknowledged educational approach for decades now (Wikipedia roots the concepts of ‘m-learning’ in the 1970s, even if the technology wasn’t sufficiently advanced to be more widely used until the 1990s), as an identified pedagogical label, there are surprisingly few examples of the phrase found in the literature.

Power (2017) describes the CSAM Framework, being a distillation of the four elements of ‘collaborative’, ‘situated’, ‘active’ and ‘mobile’ to make up a learning design framework centred around mobile learning. In ‘Mobile Learning and Higher Education‘ (2018), editors Crompton and Traxler refer to new affordances that mobile devices offer for transforming learning in higher education in a wide ranging title that provides theoretical foundations and empirical findings on the use of mobile learning at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The term ‘active mobile learning’, however, appears just once in the book. The European teaching and research project MINE (Mobile Learning in Higher Education) is also working in this area, having discussed ‘the possibilities and problems for active mobile learning in higher education’ at the 2018 EDULearn conference (Bastos et al).

With a specific highlighting of physical learning spaces as a key contextual element, City’s AML approach joins a small and select band that are attempting to identify this area of educational possibility. Of course, as an institution that has adopted the use of Poll Everywhere fairly widely across all five schools, AML will not be completely novel to City’s educational users of this mobile polling tool. It is hoped that this session, however, will open up the horizon of possibilities a little more widely.

Launching wireless collaboration at City

Next month’s workshop is intended to support the following outcomes. Participants will:

  • Gain an introduction to wireless collaboration as an emerging technology to support teaching and learning
  • Consider benefits and challenges of using mobile learning in teaching
  • Analyse and apply principles of mobile learning for rethinking teaching activities

The workshop will also function as a launch event for a new Community of Practice at City centred around wireless collaboration. Note that as this workshop is designed around an emerging technology, some of the session will be inherently experimental.

Read more about ‘Introducing active mobile learning’ here. Sign up for the full (free) Learning at City 2019 conference here. The conference is open to external delegates as well as City staff.


Bastos, G., Bauer, P., Cardoso, T., Cornelius, S., Mertes, K., Shanks, R. (2018) MINE – MOBILE LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 3625-3629. http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0934

Crompton, H., Traxler, J. (Eds) (2018). Mobile Learning and Higher Education: Challenges in Context. Routledge, Abingdon.

Power, R (2017). The Collaborative Situated Active Mobile (CSAM) Learning Design Framework. In Power, R., Ally, M., Cristol, D., & Palalas, A. (Eds.). (2017). IAmLearning: Mobilizing and supporting educator practice. [e-Book]. International Association for Mobile Learning. https://iamlearning.pressbooks.com/


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