Last week, while I was chatting informally (on Skype) with Alex Hayes , he invited me to contribute with a definition of M-Learning for the CIT National TAFE M-learning conference he is giving in two weeks. Most people associate M-Learning to mobile phones and so did I until a short time ago. However, there is much more to it and “small is beautiful” . Teemu Leinonen kept smiling that blond smile of his and repeating it everytime he saw me loaded as a camel during the FLNW adventure.

I do now own a mobile and rarely use the regular one because I am most of the time connected either f2f or through a desktop at school/home. We are not allowed to use it in the traditional brick and mortar classroom (which is where I spend most of my time). My failing eyesight demands I put on my glasses to read the numbers, press the various buttons and read the SMS messages – not comfortable or safe when you are driving or engaging in some other activity.

Then it is still expensive, some areas are not covered or connected. Finally, when finally relaxing at home in the city or in the countryside, I find it disrupting – especially when the call is from bank, credit card or traditional media direct marketing (direct spamming) coupled to a number of charities which seem to have discovered my telephone number and keep calling me at the most unappropriate times to save, invest or donate money.

However, I see how practical it is when you have forgotten to fill up your car and find yourself in the middle of a lonely dirt road, how easily you can connect to other people anytime, anyplace and how light you can travel. Last but definitely not least- 🙂 how useful it can be in education. M-learning could Mean swiMMing in knowledge, iMMersed in coMMunication and an easy way of retrieving information, documenting events or impressions, interviewing people, recording scenes and posting it all on the Web.

I´d say that more than M-Learning, all this digital media allows for U-learning – ubiquitous learning, you-centred. Once all becomes well networked and inexpensive and people connect the polyphony of ringtones to the bytes, they will have access not only to content, peers and experts but will be able to easily create and share their own production with others in seconds, just as if they had met them f2f.

A simple example to illustrate it. Yesterday after the blogcamp, over a beer in Pinheirinho bar, the conversation revolved around this as we checked the distances between Seville, Bilbao and Barcelona on Google Earth directly from Pedro Markun’s cell phone (who swears by it and considers it his favourite multimedia station).

I promised to Twitter him the url to Leonard Low´s gear bag and as I was about to fetch the permalink in the Mobile Learning Blog, I came across this video interview between Robert Scoble and Dr. Eliot Soloway, Professor and “Golden Apple” award recipient (Teacher of the Year) at University of Michigan, on his vision of learning. He provides insights about the future of education, the power of mobile computer, women in technology and access. Check it out:

I have been thinking of buying a mobile 🙂 . I want to learn how to change the script of already programmed spaces. What do you recommend?

6 thoughts on “U-Learning”

  1. Hi Bee

    As a person involved in mlearning others do feel a sense of concern when I admit my personal dislike of mobile phones. Why – cause I don’t like phone calls. As an educator I talk all day – so am more than happy not to have to talk on any phone (normal or mobile phone). Am also well known for letting my phone go flat. If people want to communicate with me – why not use the Internet – they can text me or Skype me – at least I can keep working.

    However what I can not cope with is being disconnected from the Internet (It is well known that I am an online-aholic). So this is where my mobile phone comes in (actually it is a PDA with inbuilt phone). I can receive emails, can access the Internet (using the mobile web) with mobile Internet Explorer – which means I can stay connected with my friends through mobile versions of Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader. If I get stuck on a question there is always Google in my pocket. Plus if I see something cool – I can take a photo, video or record an interview (for my podcast site). (Hopefully this will have all made all the other people in m-learning forgive my personal dislike of mobiles).

    So if you decided you want a mobile phone, you first need to decided whether you want it for the phone features or web browsing features. If it is for phone features (and you wanted a portable office to connect up to dataprojector and sound systems – can output videos, sound and powerpoint from the mobile – with a fantastic camera then the Nokia 95 is good) or for the mobile web (I suggest you look at a PDA with inbuilt mobile phone – this way you can write documents using the touch screen and easily browse the Internet).


  2. Hi Sue,
    Thanks for the suggestions and I see we share the same feelings about phones 🙂

    I would definitely need something like you describe as I am totally disconnected when I go to the countryside and have started travelling a lot again. Must check out what there is on the local market.

  3. Off topic:
    I’m tryin to do a research about Brazilian bloggers, and would like to have your participation. Case you’re interested in, please send an email to pesquisa.blogsbrasileiros@yahoo.com.br (temporary account, that will be disactivated after closing the research ), or to my personal email, registered in the comment profile. I assure you absolute respect for the privacy of the participants.
    Thank you for your attention. Please, forgive my bad English.
    Enio Luiz Vedovello


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