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Title: Reinterpreting mobile learning : an activity theoretic analysis of the use of portable devices in higher education
Author: Wali, Esra Ahmed
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 5014
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Although there is growing interest in investigating mobile learning, it is not well conceptualised. This thesis investigates the concept of 'mobile learning' by exploring students' routine learning activities mediated by the use of tools and taking place in mUltiple contexts. The exploration does not focus on what and whether students are learning; rather, it focuses on how they use tools to accomplish learning practices. This involves exploring the relationship between context and learning practices. This thesis draws on three case studies that examined the use of portable devices in two Institutions of Higher Education with different contexts: traditional learning and portable technology assisted learning. The methodology used in the studies focused on collecting data that reflects on students' actual utilisation of portable devices and the continuity of that in different contexts (formal and informal) using observations and log files collected from students' portables. In addition, it considered triangulating students' self reports collected through questionnaires and interviews. Moreover, the methodology aimed at capturing the context of learning activities to consider and understand the relationship between context and learning activities. The empirical data was analysed using the concepts of activity theory (Engestrom, 1987) and a theory of mobile learning (Sharples et a1., 2007c). The research led to presenting a conceptualisation of mobile learning using activity theory based on the concept of context-crossing. Context is embodied as the physical as well as the social features of the learning activities which also influences and is influenced by learning activities. The study also found that both new and old portable devices are important for students engaged in mobile learning, however, new portable technologies enable students to practise learning activities and create contexts that students using conventional devices could not do or create.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available