Using Google Apps as an mLearning strategy
Mobile learning (mLearning) is more than just using a mobile device to access content and communicate with others. It is the union of mobile technology (mobile devices, wireless technology) and learning (students and instructors). mLearning involves the exploitation of ubiquitous cell phones, smartphones, handheld computers, tablets, laptops and personal media players to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning processes. It implies the processes of coming to learn through exploration and conversation across multiple contexts amongst people and interactive technologies and the use of mobile or wireless devices for the purpose of learning while on the move.
mLearning, which in essence is collaborative in nature, has traditionally been associated with non-formal learning experiences. This type of learning has great potential also in the university. Collaboration technologies are typically used to support group collaboration; they can also be adapted to support collaborative learning. The nexus between collaborative learning and collaboration technology is related to computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), in which technology is used to support or better enable collaborative learning. For instance, Google Apps (GApps) for Education offers a complete management system that includes tools for reading, editing, shared thinking, and communicating in the Cloud, especially from any device connected to internet.
Consequently, several learning institutions have decided to integrate GApps in their learning communities with a view to promoting co-creation of knowledge and mutual help among students. A study presented by Rayon, Menchaca and Guenaga at the 2013 1st International Conference of the African Virtual University detailed the process followed by one such learning institution, University of Deusto, to integrate collaborative technologies in the educational context and how it combined available technologies with competences to achieve educational objectives.