fraMoLe – Mobile Learning in Frankfurt

Mobile learning & meta-study on mobile devices in the classroom

Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are challenging traditional teaching methods. Learning is increasingly taking place outside of schools: it is becoming "mobile" and the boundaries between formal, non-formal, and informal learning are becoming more and more blurred. This development raises numerous (school) organizational, technical, pedagogical, and legal questions, which are addressed in this project.

Mobile devices are not only used during free time or at work, but increasingly in schools as well. There has been some debate as to whether it is appropriate to use the pupils’ own personal devices in the classroom, and consequently, whether this should be permitted or even promoted. For now, the use of (personal) smartphones and tablets (cf. "Bring Your Own Device") is generally frowned upon in most schools or is even prohibited, despite the fact that allowing their use could mean that there would be a device for each pupil.

This project examines the following questions:

  • What do teachers and pupils need in order to enable the use of educational tools in schools and at home?
  • How could mobile educational tools be integrated into existing school infrastructure – what technical requirements are needed (e. g. with regards to IT security), what requirements would be helpful (e. g. digital board, cloud)?
  • What conditions will allow mobile educational media to best facilitate teaching and promote learning in classrooms, in seminars, for studying, and as a personal digital tool (cf. The Potential of Digital Media)?
  • How can the use of mobile devices contribute to improving the quality of instruction in the classroom?
  • The project also addresses questions regarding organization and educational policy: should schools and education authorities provide the funds for devices (school-owned) in addition to the funds needed to purchase and operate the infrastructure or should pupils bring their own educational tools with them in the future ("Bring your own device (BYOD) concept")?

Decisive factors for the successful use of mobile devices in schools to facilitate teaching and promote learning include access to a school IT infrastructure that is compatible with mobile devices and stable (Wi-Fi) networks that enable mobile devices (personal and school-owned) to be used securely and productively as educational tools.
While wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) makes it possible to work with tablets in the classroom and promotes collaborative learning, it also presents its own challenges such as the current controversy over "Störerhaftung" (lit. disturber’s liability, a law that makes the owner of a Wi-Fi network automatically liable for any illegal activities conducted on the network connection) and questions of electromagnetic radiation and health. Furthermore, the use of mobile devices requires a network with sufficient ports and bandwidth to accommodate all of the teachers and pupils at a school.

It is also essential to consider how lessons must be planned in order for personal devices to be used in and outside of the school: How can data be reliably and securely shared in the classroom and at home? How can instruction with personal digital devices be managed to ensure that students pay attention when working with the devices, but also put them away again when they are not needed?

As part of a research collaboration with the city of Frankfurt, FTzM has been conducting research on the technical requirements for learning on tablets in and outside the classroom, including BYOD concepts and related school cloud concepts.
In cooperation with the city of Frankfurt, a meta-study is being planned as a preliminary study on the development of instruction using mobile devices. A survey is being conducted that combines, documents, and illustrates regional scientific studies on the effective implementation and subject-specific use of mobile devices or tablets in the classroom. Further information on the meta-study will be published in the near future.

The fraMediale 2014 also focused on mobile learning under the title "Bring Your OWN Device".

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Contact person: Professor Dr Thomas Knaus
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Tel.: +49 (0) 69 / 15 333 222

Status: active (since 2013) // in cooperation with the city of Frankfurt and as part of fraLine4 (2011–2014) and F&E (2014–2018)

Focus: media education; educational informatics