Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 7169-7175
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
A new era of mobile Internet services is quickly approaching. The explosion of mobile information technology has quickly changed trends in e-learning. A steady transition toward 3G mobile network technologies created ubiquitous Internet services that are associated with sophisticated services, including education. The third generation (3G) wireless services provide higher data speed, which supports a wide range of Internet and multimedia applications and services, including full motion video. Implications for university teaching have not yet been fully explored, given that the penetration of ubiquitous environment at higher education has been slow. However, there are an increasing number of publications that address this topic and advocate the active use of mobile device for e-learning. For example, in the University of Birmingham, UK, students are provided with the Tablet PCs in class, at home or anywhere they choose. Their department and much of the University campus have wireless network coverage, allowing mobile access to learning materials and communication with peers and faculty. This creates an ideal environment for collaborative learning and mentoring. Student teams equipped with Tablet PCs explore new ways of recording their learning experiences and sharing these with each other and their mentors. They will use a range of tools including portals, internet messaging and video conferencing (University of Birmingham, 2009).

Here, of our special interest is that the personal extensibility theory serves as a theoretical rationale why educators should use mobile device as a teaching tool. As the number of necessary in-class or outside-class activities proliferates, we need an instrument that allows simultaneous as well as immediate interaction with educational stimuli. In particular, after the introduction of ECTS system, course load is now heavily skewed toward self-learning and outside-class activities on a basis of continuous evaluation. Benefits from ubiquitous device are enormous. Students can access necessary course materials at a distance, regardless of time and place, while taking advantage of other functionalities.

Moodle is educational free software that has been widely used in numerous countries is a free and open-source e-learning software platform, also known as a Course Management System, Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). As of January 2010, it had a user base of 45,721 registered and verified sites, serving 32 million users in 3 million courses. The program consists of several modules that allow uploading files (text, image and video), chat, emailing, discussion board, and grading, among others. Although this program has mainly been available in a desktop PC environment, a ubiquitous version of Moodle has already been proposed and implemented to some extent. For example, some Japanese Universities have created a pilot version of Moodle for Mobiles. An ideal application can be made using iPhone OS or Google’s Android as they allow users to take full advantage of 3G functionality. In this regard, Gibson (2009) made the following recommendations for optimal mobile learning environment of iPhone/iPod Touch: (1) limit graphical content; (2) text considerations; (3) limit use of data entry; (4) utilize empty apace; and (5) place non-essential links at the bottom of the screen. In our full paper, main benefits of such m-learning applications are discussed.
Higher education, Mobile device, Moodle, Ubiquitous, University.