Mobile and Intelligent Assistants in Education

MEC 2017 Media Education Conference | Rovaniemi, Finland | 27th November 2017

A series of projects on migrant learning with smartphones and tablets, undertaken by researchers at The Open University UK, has led to an evolving conceptualisation of ‘mobile assistance’ as a form of ongoing or emergency support that is facilitated through the use of portable and wearable technologies. The idea that a small device can offer personalized assistance to its user, including in educational settings, has been around for quite some time but technological advancements as well as increasingly mobile and fluid lives introduce new perspectives. In projects concerned with how migrants can use new types of multifunctional and location-triggered apps to learn a language as part of their daily activities, the notion of mobile assistance has been analysed in relation to forms of assistance and support traditionally offered by teachers. As advanced societies appear to be on the cusp of a new era of ‘intelligent assistants’ and ‘social robots’, the notion of assistance could take centre stage and the need to explore its multifaceted nature is then very apparent. This talk considers the role of mobile phones and other portable, wearable and embedded technologies providing various forms of assistance in the process of learning.

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