Book by: Clark N. Quinn
Review by: Imani Fredricks-Lowman
Department of Advising and Academic Development
Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Mark N. Quinn, the author of The Mobile Academy: mLearning for Higher Education, states in his first chapter that the mobile revolution is here and Higher Education is not exempt from this revolution. It is therefore imperative that institutions of higher learning develop strategies to effectively incorporate it into the educational process. Quinn does not focus on mobile devices that can be used in the classroom. He believes that these devices are fluid and rapidly changing. He argues that the focus should be on principles of effective learning and the role that mobile devices and technology can play to facilitate its effectiveness.
Quinn believes that administrative components of higher education can also benefit from mobile technology integration because it provides students with information in the moment. The ease of accessing student centered services through mobile technology, such as adding and dropping classes, registering for class, getting grades, and requesting transcripts can positively contribute to academic life and therefore the overall higher education experience of students.
Quinn discusses the 4 C’s of mobile capabilities; content, compute, capture and communicate. According to Quinn it is important to look at content in smaller chunks and determine what information one already has that can benefit from being mobile accessible. One must consider the best format for the learners needs. Infusing mobile technology can assist students with understanding information because they are given the flexibility to practice at a time that is most convenient for them for learning. Assessments conducted via mobile devices can capture the achievement of student learning outcomes during instruction and allows students to track how they are doing in the course. Social media and mobile devices can facilitate learning interactions and allows students to collaborate and communicate with each other in real time.
In the last few chapters, Quinn pushes the envelope even further by discussing higher education utilizing tools such as augmented reality, which would provide additional information based on data received, alternate reality which would “create artificial experiences that are mobile delivered” (p. 89) as well as adaptive delivery in which the system can use rules “to combine content on the fly to customize the learning experience” (p. 91). He explains that “the distinction between virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life and equivalents) and mobile augmented reality begin to blur” (p. 88). In other words, one has not even scratched the surface of what can be done with mobile devices. In his last chapter, he provides guidance for organizations that want to incorporate mobile technology and discusses the possible issues and pitfalls that one may face in the process of developing, implementing or integrating mobile technology.
This book is designed for individuals that are new to the concept of mobile learning and want to garner a basic foundational understanding of this relatively new phenomenon. Its limitation is that it does not cater to individuals that want to gather more in-depth knowledge on the subject matters. I would recommend this book for academic advisors because our major role is to assist students with transitioning to academic life and academic life includes mobile learning and technology. Mobile learning can also intimidate some of our special populations such as adult learners. We should therefore understand what students are experiencing in the classroom and provide guidance if needed. This book can also be utilized as a catalyst for advisors to start thinking about ways mobile technology can be used administratively to improve the advising process, as well as effectively share critical information to students.
The Mobile Academy: mLearning for Higher Education (2011). Book by Clark N. Quinn. Review by Imani Fredricks-Lowman, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 144 pp., $40.00 (Paperback), ISBN # 978-1-118-07265-3