Mobile STEM Learning Scenarios
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In both the professional rhetoric and academic literature, mobile learning is frequently positioned to realise the aspirations of STEM educators who seek to implement inquiry-based learning within authentic and collaborative contexts, mimicking the processes and settings real STEM practitioners experience. The reality maybe somewhat different, as this study demonstrates, with students often shackled by the physical boundaries of the classroom and limited degrees of choice granted to them as independent agents in the learning process. Rather than mediating access to external expertise and collaborative know-how, data derived from a recent international online survey of STEM educators, suggests mobile technologies are only rarely used to support the sharing and exchange of data between students or to engage in ‘conversations’ and dialogue with ‘outsiders’ in the way real STEM practitioners commonly behave. This conundrum forms the basis of this chapter, which adopts scenario production and analysis as a methodological approach to help STEM educators reconceptualise their use of mobile technologies across various different futures. These ‘futures’ are set out neither as predictions nor as prognoses but rather as stimuli to encourage greater discussion and reflection around the use of mobile technologies in STEM education. In considering four alternative futures for STEM education we conclude that ‘seamless learning’, whereby students are empowered to use their mobile technologies to negotiate across boundaries (e.g. between school and out-of-school activities), may be the most significant factor in encouraging educators to rethink their existing pedagogical patterns, thereby realizing some of the aspirations which have yet to be achieved in inquiry-based STEM education. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the ways in which teacher education might respond to future challenges and opportunities emerging from recent research in mobile learning.
KeywordsScenario planning Mobile learning STEM learning Collaborative learning Inquiry-based learning Scenario building
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