21Mobile Learning and Social Networking

John Traxler

21.1 Introduction

The term “learning technology” deliberately reflects this book’s scope, which includes both education and training. The terms “educational technology,” “instructional technology,” and “learning technology” are all used but with different nuances in their meaning and those differences can be culturally dependent—certainly technology or learning are not culturally neutral or necessarily benign. Mobile learning makes these terms increasingly problematic. This is increasingly true as we look at its implications for “just-in-time” mobile learning and mobile performance support, and their challenge to settled notions of learning “just-in-case.” We had a decade of seeing learning with mobiles as a kind of learning technology but however cute and innovative, it was never going to be financially sustainable or scalable. We have also seen several years in which social networking technologies have been increasingly co-opted as learning technologies and we now see their convergence and emergence as something very different. Helen Beetham, asking whether “learning technology” is an outmoded term, believes:

… the term comes from a time when institutional LTA systems were being developed and implemented for the first time. Important because one of the great powers of digital technology is interoperability, and making information easily shared among all the people and processes involved in learning. But since the emergence of VLEs, ...

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