Today, we have entered an era in which mobile technology is fundamentally changing our culture and impacting every aspect of our lives, including education and training. By age 21, the average of digital natives will have spent over 10,000 hours on cell phones. More than 1.5 billion mobile phones are used in the world today, with a half a billion new ones sold every year. This is more than three times the number of personal computers (PCs), and today’s most sophisticated cell phones have the computing power of a mid-1990’s PC. So, the mobile education revolution is finally here. Over 90% of college students now own a cell phone. Despite what some may consider cell phones’ limitations, students are already inventing ways to use their phones to learn what they want to know.
For the past five years, I have engaged in several mobile learning (m-learning) research projects involving personal digital assistants (PDA), ipods, and other mobile handheld devices. I have great interest in mobile learning and believe it will be a major extension of e-learning. I want to continue my research effort in mobile learning focusing on the use of cell phone technology. Currently, the research in the design and testing of a learning support system using a cell phone is very limited. I would like to join many researchers in the research institutions and giant corporations like Nokia and Ericsson to conduct research on the use of a cell phone in education and training.
My current (CPLSS) project is attempted to deliver instructional content and learning materials in way that fits into students’ cell phones – their digital lives. The CPLSS is designed to work with many cell phones, smartphones, or PDA phones and will have four major modules: Java book, Web book, audio book, and video book. The Java book is a small Java program which runs in the cell phone to display any textual information. It will be used mainly for displaying the course syllabus, schedule, lecture notes, assignments, quizzes, or other learning materials. The Web book is actually a mobile Web site displayed in a standard HTML or WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) on a cell phone. The Web book will be used to retrieve course materials online through a special mobile Web site. It is designed for a Web-enable cell phone. The audio book is designed to play recorded lectures, class news, podcasts, digital audio books, interviews with guest experts, or language lessons in MP3 format. Finally, the video book will be used to play instructional videos or demonstrations in 3gp or mp4 format. Both audio and video recordings will be placed online for distribution, downloaded to the cell phone, and then played in the phone when the learner wants to listen or view. The CPLSS system will enable professors or trainers to provide the course syllabus, class schedule, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials (in text, audio, and video formats) to students on a cell phone. The CPLSS project is currently under development. Hopefully, I will be able to field test the CPLSS in my classes next year.