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Ubiquitous Information - My Research Complete!

22 December 2008 6 Comments


Ubiquitous Information

A New Zealand Ministry of Education eFellowship report on the use of mobile phones in classrooms to foster information literacy skills


The technological capabilities of mobile technology such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are developing at a furious pace. These incredibly advanced pieces of hardware are available readily and for most as must have consumer items, particularly amongst our youth – genY, the iPod generation, the “prod-users”. This technology has seen a fundamental change in this generation from those before. These students are always connected and always available.

This report considers the impact ‘anytime’ access to information via access to the mobile internet will have on teaching and learning in the future. It explores the potential applications for mobile phones in the classroom and the skills that our students will need in order to cope with the mass of information on-demand that is available to them.

The research conducted for the purpose of this report involved a class set of 30 3G mobile phones being made available for a single unit of work by three different classes; a Year 12 Media Studies, Year 9 Social Studies and a general Year 8 class. Each unit of work ran for approximately 5-7 weeks. The teachers involved in the study were given support to learn how to use various functions of the mobile phones and to plan their unit of work.

The findings of this report indicate the following:

  • applications and tools available for use via a mobile phone, including access to the world wide web, have a great deal of potential for use in schools. Currently cost of data is the single biggest factor in limiting this use.
  • while as teachers we are constantly being told our students are ‘digital natives’, many of our students are not as au fait with technology as teachers are led to believe. Students are being labelled the ‘net-gen’ and teachers who have been told that they are ‘digital immigrants’ often do not see that the skills they believe their students to have are not always present. While students may seem very ‘tech savvy’ they still need to be taught the skills to deal with the world that their use of technology gives them access to, namely the world wide web and information overload.
  • key factors identified by secondary school teachers as impacting their ability to teach information literacy included limited access to resources (particularly technologies for accessing the world wide web), access to professional development and the impact of timetabling leading to a highly segmented curriculum.

Toni Twiss - Ubiquitous Information

Publish at Scribd or explore others: Primary and High Sch Education information literacy mobile phones

Image by drp used under Creative Commons License: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71209115@N00/18463461/


  • Helen Otway said:

    Hi Toni,
    Just sent you an email. Looking forward to a read.

  • Ed Shepherd said:

    I can’t wait to see your results.

  • Jamin Lietze said:

    Hi Toni

    Congratulations on finishing your research! I was impressed as I took the time to read it. I gained some new insights and was intrigued by some of the students’ reponses.
    I do think that the Parents voices of Secondary students dictate what many of them believe about mlearning. I don’t think they really have moved on from the “traditional” education pedagogy. You can see this difference when you compare it to the Primary students responses.

    Yes mlearning has many creases still to be ironed out but the potential is exponential.

    Well done.

  • Jonathan Nalder said:

    Hi from across the Tasman Toni! Was doing some searching around the uLearn conference you guys have in NZ as I’d like to attend this year, and came across this post - looking forward to reading your research and conclusions so as to compare to things here in Australia. Wish we had the eFellows scheme here! May I have a copy as a PDF?



  • Richard said:

    Play Video Comment

  • Toni Twiss (author) said:

    Hi Richard

    The webcam only let me talk for 10secs - so I will go old-skool and type a reply!

    We had both text and data charges provided by Vodafone so the students either sent an SMS to the Australian number (no idea of charges for this) or used the web interface via accessing internet through their mobile.

    Would be really keen to hear how you get on.

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