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Young People Have Education in Hand

Article date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 09:58 GMT

Michael Wilkinson of i-education

Young people must be encouraged to capture their thoughts and inspirations at any given moment using their mobiles, so that educators can give context to these findings and support more formal learning, according to an industry round table.

Experts from the world of e-learning looked at the opportunities to draw on cultural references and personal experiences through the use of mobile learning and social media sites to encourage a deeper level of understanding.

Michael Wilkinson, director of i-education, said, "I think the most important aspect of e-learning is harnessing social practices, taking things that students do in every aspect of their lives and using them for the power of learning.

"By gathering real life examples through mobile and Web 2.0 technologies, students are able to draw on their experiences and those of their peers to capture informal learning which supports more formal learning. These tools also encourage students to communicate and collaborate on a global scale."

Dan Sodergren of Great Marketing Works, added, "Learning through mobile phones is massively important as there are now five billion phones in the world. The most exciting element of e-learning is engaging people to use these tools by marketing them in a fun and positive way, so people actually use them."

The panel also identified that educators must embrace all aspects of mobile learning, from the use of applications to capturing an image or video at the point of inspiration.

Michael added, "We're very much involved in delivering learning through the mobile and are now making apps for the likes of iPods and iPhones.

"We have created I Am Learning, a games-based, revision assessment system, and are really excited about being able to take that from the desktop to the device.

"The most important element, which is a huge difficulty for educators and people developing in these areas, is bringing this all together. Although I've accessed it on my iPhone I still need to have centralised resources so I can access it on my desktop. It is creating the amalgamation of everything I've done through a range of technological devices in one place."

Despite the benefits that mobile learning affords students, with limited funding available, universities and e-learning businesses must be encouraged to develop systems that can be used on a variety of devices.

Tony Lowe, managing director of Webducate, said, "We're a small company and not in a position to start developing apps for all of the different operating systems as there are so many.

"From working with universities it is apparent that they are not in a position to demand students have an iPhone or iPod or provide everyone with one, even though it is a good marketing tool. Ultimately, people come to university with their own personal device and that is what we need to work with."

The round table discussions are held in association with UKFast with the aim of uniting business leaders to share advice and provide a wealth of ideas for other developing companies. The panel was completed by Gavin Hubbard from Learndirect and Jon Toothill, client services director at Lightbox Education.


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