Extending the boundaries of the classroom, mobile devices, such as smartphones and iPads, can support learning by making information accessible on any device, anytime, anywhere. Mobile applications oftentimes present information in a dynamic, interactive format that provides opportunities for communicating and collaborating with other students.
Because mobile technology has become pretty ubiquitous and popular in the lives of many students, instructors may wonder how to incorporate mobile learning into their courses. With that in mind, California State University’s Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) has developed a catalog of mobile learning resources to inspire and support your teaching in this cutting-edge format.
What is MERLOT?
Executive Director of MERLOT, Gerry Hanley explains that MERLOT is a database Website that is similar to the electronic card catalog that you may use at your local library.
All of the resources it catalogs are Web-based and free for non-commercial, educational purposes. The resources MERLOT has to offer come in a wide variety of technical formats, such as Web pages, interactive Flash presentations, PDF documents, and executable programs. MERLOT is built and continuously updated by its community of users, which include teaching faculty, staff, librarians, academic technology staff, government employees, and students from around the world. Each resource in the database has undergone a formal review by an editorial board and undergoes continuous peer review by the MERLOT community.
MERLOT’s Portal on Mobile Learning contains instructional strategies and case studies for best practices, faculty development resources for implementing mobile technology, and a collection of reviewed mobile learning apps. You may also search their index of learning materials for m-learning for ready-to-use lesson plans, learning objects, and activities.
Although you do not need to register with MERLOT to use these resources, by signing up for a free account you can save resources you like to your own collection, build lesson plans that coincide with mobile resources you find at MERLOT, and network with members of the MERLOT community who have expertise in the use of mobile technology.
How do I Access MERLOT’s Portal on Mobile Learning?
In your Web browser of choice, go to http://mobilelearning.merlot.org/. Use the helpful links in the “Mobile Learning” side-bar to begin searching for mobile apps and learning materials that address your needs. The “Find Mobile Apps for Teaching” and “Find Materials about Mobile Learning” links will take you the Learning Materials index for each type of content, where you may browse the index or further refine your search.
Clicking on the name of a resource returned in the search results will take you to the Material Details page for that resource. On the Material Details page, you can view additional information about resource to help you determine its relevance and quality, such as a description, the intended audience or grade level, technical format, learning goals, and recommended usage. The “Go to Materials” link allows you to open and interact with the learning resource directly.
It is important to note that MERLOT resources are not hosted at the MERLOT site, but hosted by the original authors of that content on the Web. To share a resource with a colleague or student, simply share the URL Web address of the resource as it appears in your Web browser after clicking the “Go to Materials” link.
To learn more about using MERLOT’s Portal on Mobile Learning to research and add mobile technology to your course design, please read their overview of services tutorial, “ Supporting Your Mobile Learning Initiative with MERLOT”.