Working paper #2

Schools as Community Hubs: Mobile Learning

Working Paper #2, 16 July 2014

Jerry Watkins, Ian McShane, Natalie Cole, Colin Dawson, Denise Meredyth

This working paper considers directions for mobile learning within a shared-use school environment.

Summary. Current shared-use policy focuses on physical facilities with little discussion of whether and how school digital resources might be more widely used. This is evidenced by both BER and the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s 2009 inquiry. The Opportunity Spaces project argues that this is a significant policy gap which requires redressing in twenty-first century educational provision, particularly where compulsory years schooling is located within life-long learning.

Policy gaps. An agile approach to shared digital school resources acknowledges that strictly top-down design and provision of online/mobile learning content and services (e.g. the failed Ultranet project in Victoria) is increasingly irrelevant and inappropriate to an environment in which such content is available at low-/no-cost via personal mobile devices.

Recommendation. The ease of device and app availability and relative low cost of service provision presages a future of increasingly rapid obsolescence for digital educational resources. In response this working paper supports projects such as the NSW DER Collection which serves as a portal to educational programs from both public and private providers.

Ongoing debate. The potential for ‘new’ media to revolutionise formal education has been a talking point for decades, encompassing radio, television, video, videoconferencing and many other new media of the day. Arguably it is the higher level of engagement made possible via online access to innovative content which has started to realise some of the more ‘heroic’ visions surrounding ICT-enabled education. However, such innovation is not an automatic outcome achieved by the inexorable process of technological determinism, but rather requires planning, design and maintenance by experienced stakeholder teams.

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