Michael GreerWhen students return to campus this fall, chances are good they won’t bring a laptop to class but instead will carry a smartphone. Students and faculty alike are looking to the ubiquitous handhelds to enhance learning.

Educator and editor Michael Greer says if we are ever going to make learning mobile, we must first rethink learning. In a blog post for the Textbook & Academic Authors Association, he argues that “technology should serve learning, not drive it.”

“Making learning mobile is not simply a matter of breaking text into shorter chunks and making the type re-flowable. While those things are important, the process is far more than a cosmetic makeover,” he explains.

“Making learning mobile is really about a conceptual shift – a move from one learning model to another. In the first model, textbooks and online educational content are primarily vehicles for the delivery of content. In the second, they become experiences, communities, or environments in which meaning and learning are created actively,” says Greer. “In the first model, students are mostly in the role of recipients or consumers of knowledge; in the second, students are active participants in the creation of knowledge.”

Michael Greer teaches online courses in editing and publishing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is editor for the journal Research in Online Literacy Education. He is also a frequent guest on Beyond the Book.

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