TWITTER IN INFORMAL AGRICULTURE EDUCATION: AN ACTIVITY THEORY BASED ANALYSIS OF A MOBILE LEARNING APPROACH
1 University of Colombo School of Computing (SRI LANKA)
2 Stockholm University (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 1770 (abstract only)
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Mobile learning is defined by Keegan (2005) as basically a learning method which provides education and training on mobile phones. This is mostly from the point of view of the technology that is used to initiate learning. The second approach to define mobile learning is from the point of view of the learner. Accordingly, mobile learning is defined as any sort of learning that happens when the learner is not at a fixed, predetermined location, or learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies (Malley et al., 2003).
This study attempts to evaluate the impact of a Twitter based mobile learning project conducted among a group of distance learners using Twitter mobile SMS option. We have delivered a series of short lessons related to agriculture among 20 young farmers since October, 2012 – March 2013. The lessons basically used Question & Answer format so as to improve student engagement and learning; which also helped in overcome 140 character limitation of Twitter.
The aim of the study was to assess impact of mobile learning programme as a guided informal learning method, in the light of Activity theory. The activity theory has being used to structure the study, and also to derive the research questions related to user satisfaction, learning community, tools, learning resources, and user control aspects. The activity theory has been used as a guide to capture the dynamics of mobile learning context throughout the study. Other methodologies, including participatory methods such as key informant discussions, case studies and focus groups were also used to understand the interrelationships among the concepts.
The study reveals the limitations and challenges faced by the learners when participating in the SMS based mobile learning programme. Furthermore it suggests on how to improve the mobile learning situation to maximize its benefits for the participants from the learner point of view while discussing the possibility of using mobile learning in the domain of agriculture as guided informal learning method.
In future, the findings will be used to further improve the mobile learning programme, and to test the applicability of the same mobile learning procedure among other communities.
Keywords: Mobile learning, Twitter, Activity Theory.