Challenges for Mobile Learning: Ecologies, Mobilities, and Migration
The symposium discusses frameworks for mobile learning and the application of digital, individualized mobile devices for learning in the process of migration. The first presentation considers potentials and limitations of the frameworks of mobilities and ecologies. It is followed by the application of a nested ecological framework for using mobile devices for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. This framework looks at how teachers can use these devices with displaced populations and describes an interconnected network of systems involving personal and environmental factors. The third paper delineates educational affordances of mobile devices for intercultural education and media education. In the foreground is social inclusion and social justice. The final paper presents examples of mobile learning in schools, which are in line with a cultural ecology of resources. The focus is on mobile, digital cultural resources for language learning in schools of migrants and refugees.
Presentations of the Symposium
Mobilities and Ecologies: Reflections on Frameworks for Mobile Learning
Mediated lifeworlds and a diversity of physical, geographical, technological, cultural, and social mobilities involve new challenges for education and learning in a digital age. In recent years, a variety of corresponding conceptualizations and methods has been developed in educational research and practice. One the one hand, we find technologically or culturally abridged concepts and reductionist approaches, more or less dealing with one category or dimension of the topic. On the other hand, there are ambitious approaches dealing with the enormous complexities of the issues concerned. The latter frequently refer to ecological or mobilities frameworks. Moreover, among the many “turns” that have been claimed after the linguistic turn, especially the ecological turn and the mobilities turn play an important role in the context of theorizing mobile learning and education. For one thing, a new mobilities paradigm has been proposed, then again various ecological approaches have been promoted, among them media ecology, information ecology, knowledge ecology, socio-cultural ecology, communicative ecology, political ecology, and ecologies of affect. In addition, there are different understandings of ecology, for example, as environment, social movement, moral norm, or network theory. The paper reflects on potentials and limitations of frameworks of mobilities and ecologies in the context of mobile learning.
Ecological Framework of Mobile Learning for Displaced Populations
Education is a human right, a tool for personal empowerment as well as an instrument to social and cultural development (Dunkerly-Bean & Crompton, 2015). Access to education can be strained during times of emergency and displacement. In these situations, mobile devices can be a beneficial tool to be used to continue the education of these populations. Mobile devices require substantially less infrastructure and tethering to a constant source of electricity is unnecessary making them capable of being used in a variety of locations (Kim, 2009). The Ecological Framework of Mobile Learning for Displaced Populations is adapted from Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) Ecological Framework. This nested model show how the mlearning integration framework is influenced by personal and environmental factors. This model was used for mobile learning of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The presentation reports about these refugees’ interactions with different groups of people, the policies, resources and systems in respect of influence on that learner.
The learner is placed in the center circle and the outer concentric circles describe the other various factors with relevance for the Syrian refugees. This framework can be used by policy makers, funders, researchers and practitioners in developing supporting mobile learning initiatives on refugee camps and those in surrounding areas.
Designing intercultural mobile learning activities for students at risk of social exclusion
In the last twenty years, in Europe racism and xenophobia have known a new era of growth with intolerance finding a fertile ground in economic crisis and insecurity. While globalisation and immigration processes, neoliberal transformations of welfare states and shrinking labour markets are upsetting the ‘Old Continent’, political racist movements have (re-)emerged (Ranieri, 2016). Othering discourses are also echoed online and concerns are arising about their impact on young people. Indeed, as intense users of the Internet, arguably young people are exposed to discriminatory content while they start making sense of the social and political world around them. In this context, it becomes crucial for education to promote intercultural dialogue inspired by principles of equity, solidarity and social justice. This contribution presents an approach to the design of intercultural learning activities based on the use of mobile devices. Mobile devices are here conceived as cultural resources of everyday life (Pachler, Bachmair, Cook 2010) which are associated to meaning making processes and identity building. Combining the principles of Universal design for learning with a more contextualized approach based on socio-cultural educational practices, insight on how to design intercultural mobile learning activities will be provided together with examples of activities and practices.
Mobile learning in the process of migration, case studies on second language appropriation in schools
The paper reports how young refuges and migrants appropriate the new language by investigating the written language of everyday. In a social semiotic perspective, everyday life works as a multimodal vocabulary which can be easily explored by a foreigner because its meaning is partly self-explanatory. Smartphones, tablets were used inside and outside of the classroom because of their multimodal functionality and their origin from everyday life. Multimodality, the integration into everyday life plus their global normality recommend smartphones or tablets as cultural resources within the formal learning in the schools. Peer-to-peer learning was relevant to integrate these digital devices into conversational learning procedures. In the perspective of a cultural ecology in line with Bourdieu’s cultural capital (2006) today mobile devices function as global cultural resources within a mobile complex. The mobile complex with, among others, fluid structure and invisible power motivates schools to reject these devices for learning. This excludes not the least migrant pupils from their already reduced cultural resources. Bernstein’s discussion (1987) from a generation ago about elaborate and restricted language codes as means of injustice can motivate school education to acknowledge the personal cultural resources of their pupils in the process of migration and refuge.