Aligning migration with mobility: female immigrants using smart technologies for informal learning show the way

The specific needs of migrant people, along with those of mobile workers and students, call into question the appropriateness of educational provision which is largely centred on classroom-based teaching and learning.  Mobile technologies extend collective knowledge building across formal and informal settings and new models of learning have to be elaborated; however, these bring their own challenges in terms of learner preparedness, available infrastructures, systems of assessment and the changing role of teachers. Furthermore, increasingly smart technologies that can monitor activity patterns and behaviours, and imbue familiar surrounding objects with additional layers of data and meanings, set new cognitive and intellectual challenges. The European MASELTOV research project, which is developing smartphone-based community services for EU immigrants, and in particular for isolated women, is an early example of the next generation of mobile learning, which will combine context-aware technologies with social networks, situated and incidental learning, progress monitoring, and distributed learner support. This research brings to the fore issues of literacy, quality, cost, privacy and trust. Although mobile devices clearly support various forms of mobility, there is more work to be done to ensure that human migration and device-enabled mobility are suitably aligned.

Prof Agnes Kukulska-Hulme

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme is Professor of Learning Technology and Communication, and Associate Director (Learning & Teaching) in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK. She is President of the International Association for Mobile Learning, and serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning. She has been working in mobile learning since 2001, leading research projects on learning innovation in the UK and internationally; most recently as part of the European MOTILL project on mobile technologies in lifelong learning and the MASELTOV project on smart and personalized technologies for social inclusion of immigrants. She is co-editor of two books, Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers (2005) and Researching Mobile Learning: Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs (2009). Professor Kukulska-Hulme’s expertise also encompasses distance learning, open and online education, and language learning. Her original discipline background is in linguistics and foreign language acquisition, and from this perspective she has a long standing research interest in effective communication mediated by new technologies and the new possibilities for language learning and re-learning in an age of mobility. She has published a number of articles on mobile-assisted language learning. 

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