We are all increasingly waking up to the importance of learning that takes place beyond the school walls.
Developments in technology mean that we are now able to learn and communicate when and wherever we want, and this is reflected in a myriad of Government policies from Extended Schools to Home Access. But what is the real value of the learning - and play (after all, the Children’s Plan sets out how important this is) - that takes place out of school? could it be that we are missing the point and, instead of organised ‘school-style’ learning encroaching on children’s out-of-school time, maybe formal education should be recognising the value of more spontaneous and unstructured learning?

introduction to Jan-June 2009 edition of Futurelab ‘Vision’ written by chief executive Stephen Bresilin

The importance of play is recurrent in much of what I have been reading. It is fundamental to my teaching philosophy that the work I do with students should be enjoyable and creative, for both them and me

“The key thing was not so much the skills being learnt, but the role models and relationships being made” Jan-June 2009 edition of Futurelab ‘Vision’ - article on “Positive about young people” Government project on summer holiday projects for young people.

I offer enthusiasm, and an environment; a possibility space. I no longer teach ‘computer skill’s, indeed much of the time the students are teaching me. If they have project about which they are enthused, they will find the skills and the tools to pursue it.

“it is important to note that it is not the access to digital resources which ‘delivers’ creativity, but the opportunities such access affords for interaction, participation and active demonstration of imagination, production, purpose, originality and value”.

the teacher has a very important role to play in creating these opportunities

A.Loveless 2002 ‘Creativity, New Technologies and Learning, NESTA Futurelab Report 4 (P9)

Information and Communication Technology (ICT), particularly mobile technology, provides new opportunities to achieve this. Although ICT may be present in the scene, there is still a lack of consolidated knowledge on its role to enhance (or to undermine) intergenerational learning processes and the deriving social dynamics. Furthermore, the emphasis placed on the virtual properties of ICT has often obliterated the important role played by physical spaces: these are constitutive components both of the learning experience itself and of the inter-relational dynamics stimulated by the learning experience.

This was taken from the futurelab Report 11: Literature Review in Mobile Learning Laura Naismith, Peter Lonsdale, Giasemi Vavoula, Mike Sharples University of Birmingham

Technologies and Learning Mobile technologies are a familiar part of the lives of most teachers and students in the UK today. We take it for granted that we can talk to other people at any time, from wherever we may be; we are beginning to see it as normal that we can access information, take photographs, record our thoughts with one device, and that we can share these with our friends, colleagues or the wider world. Newer developments in mobile phone technology are also beginning to offer the potential for rich multimedia experiences and for location-specific resources. The challenge for educators and designers, however, is one of understanding and exploring how best we might use these resources to support learning. That we need to do this is clear – how much sense does it make to continue to exclude from schools, powerful technologies that are seen as a normal part of everyday life? At the present time, however, the models for using and developing mobile applications for learning are somewhat lacking. This review provides a rich vision of the current and potential future developments in this area. It moves away from the dominant view of mobile learning as an isolated activity to explore mobile learning as a rich, collaborative and conversational experience, whether in classrooms, homes or the streets of a city. It asks how we might draw on existing theories of learning to help us evaluate the most relevant applications of mobile technologies in education. It describes outstanding projects currently under development in the UK and around the world and it explores what the future might hold for learning with mobile technologies.

Keri Facer Director of Learning Research Futurelab

The school in which I teach, along with many other schools in the UK, attempt to ban iPods and mobile phones, and block sites such as You Tube and Facebook. I have long opted for a totally unrestricted access in my art room, personally monitoring computer use, and encouraging a creative use of the technology. There is great potential for motivation in this technology, which can be put to good use. I have been exploring the potential of putting information, tasks, worksheets, links, and surveys, on line, and encouraging students to post back to me. I it much easier for me too, to receive a class quota of replies when they as they are completed and sent, rather than waiting for scraps of crumpled A4 photocopy paper to be dragged from the depths of a school bag.