Ubiquitous learning, otherwise known as mobile learning, involves learning via the use of handphones, PDAs and other Wireless Handheld Devices (WHDs). The technical functionalities of WHDs have always been within the realms of business professionals who need to check emails and assess their location via Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Speed is the “X-factor” behind the demand of WHDs by business professionals. So, why are WHDs being made an integral part of the lessons for students now? Are educationists looking to expedite the learning process as well? After all, we live in a “faster is better “world. When we want to have fast meals, there are fast-food restaurants. When we want to slim down, there are always quicker remedies then exercising. When we want a drink, there’s always the vending machines. So what’s so bad about speeding up the lessons in educational institutions? Well, the fact of the matter is that speeding up the lessons is not the objective of educationists. Flexibility or rather adaptability, is.
Students in recents years are getting more IT-savvy. And this is not exactly a bad thing. In fact, through the adoption of the use of WHDs in the classroom, educationists are providing students with an opportunity to be fluent with the latest features of communication technology, and this will aid them well when they enter the workforce in the later years. In fact, allowing students to use WHDs while they are in school does provide them with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with technology that will be useful to them in life as well.
However, not many educational institutions are implementing ubiquitous learning as yet and this may be due to several factors. Firstly, there is the challenge of integrating WHDs into the existing curriculum. Secondly, there might be budget constraints since the cost of purchasing WHDs in bulk for the students may be high. Thirdly, there might be additional training cost required to familiarise educationists with the relevant technology before the implementation of ubiquitous learning in educational institutions.
All these factors have led to the slow response of schools to this new type of learning. Nevertheless, I believe that ubiquitous learning is beneficial to the students and over time, it will be become the norm in educational institutions, in the same way that IT is now being introduced to schools worldwide.