Ku Sang, Korean poet, and mlearning
Ku Sang was a famous Korean poet of the early-mid 20th century. Assembling media, geolocating this assembly, reflecting early and often: an mlearning project.
Ku Sang was a famous Korean poet of the early-mid 20th century. Assembling media, geolocating this assembly, reflecting early and often: an mlearning project.

I was putting together a presentation I am going to be doing relatively soon on mobile learning designed specifically to set up a field activity and I thought it might be useful for at least a few of the teachers out there to outline how I think a mlearning activity might unfold. Pragmatically. So I thought I might outline one here; please feel free to use it if you think it worthwhile. Please note that this is not exclusive to mobile learning; in fact, it can be completely accomplished by recycling materials available online via a laptop or desktop. However, it adds to the authenticity when the images are created and compiled by the learners’ themselves.

Learning Goals

  1. To critically reflect on located (local) history and the effects of literature, art, etc. on regional identity
  2. To employ and reflect on the modes selected to present such a history
  3. To comprehend the presentational capacity of montage, mosaic, and collage as opposed to textual narratives
  4. To develop the capacity for employing tools to create these local histories
  5. To develop capacity for formalized learning activities outside traditional school structures (ie, in the field)


  1. Collected media, including images, art, literature
  2. Collected modes (image, audio, geographic, text, film)
  3. Criteria for selection of this media and these modes (as a reflective activity)
  4. Justification for choosing the particular presentation form (montage vs. collage vs. textual essay, etc.) discussing the affordances of each
  5. Geographic information (GPS coordinates for the presentation) and justification for the choice of that location (why does this collection matter in this location? What memory are we actually trying to embed and what value does it provide to the community?)
  6. Timeline (charting steps and workflow of this project is in itself a reflective activity). This is a critical step as it forces a think about the design of such a project, the implications of the individual steps, and the overall structure. It also forces consideration for tool selection, a technological literacy side effect of this project.
  7. Media manipulations tools (see below)
Reflecting on the presentation of Ku Sang via collage or as layered assembly.
Reflecting on the presentation of Ku Sang via collage or as layered assembly.


Any number of these can work depending on what the learner actually chooses as the presentation form. I have written about some of these tools before.





  • Tumblr
  • WordPress
  • Twitter (don’t doubt the power of Twitter for micro-reflections-think updates from the field or field journal entries-aggregated by the teacher through a common hashtag)


Design/Workflow Illustration

I use Pencil for this sort of thing for both the workflow and the wireframe aspects of a presentation. It is free and handy for sketching. Alternatively, any mindmapping application would probably do the trick as well. Wallwisher/Padlet is another good tool for organizing tools and process in some sort of coherency

7 Eccles Street is a parking lot. Try that on for a juxtaposition of intent (Joyce's) and reality.
7 Eccles Street is a parking lot. Try that on for a juxtaposition of intent (Joyce’s) and reality.


These activities foreground methods of selection quite prominently as they stress the assembly and process. It is important for learners to not only justify their choice of materials and their methods of tool selection, but to reflect on the workflow to assemble those materials and what the assembly actually presents as knowledge. The following outline is reflective heavy, but these can be removed as needed.

  1. Choose a location and research that location
  2. Choose a thematic approach to the presentation of meaning in that location (a disciplinary assembly-literature, art, political science, geology, whatever)
  3. Provide justification of choice of location and theme (text, multimodal)
  4. Research and choose media for the presentation (Which images? Which passages? Which combinations?
  5. Research and choose combination of modes for the location (film, audio, image, text)
  6. Reflection on choice of media and modes
  7. Research and choose presentation assembly (montage, mosaic, collage, linear textual narrative)
  8. Research and choose specific location within that larger locale to geoposition the creation
  9. Reflect on choice of assembly and specific location
  10. Research and choose tools for presentation
  11. Develop workflow for use of these tools and media for assembly
  12. Reflect on these tools and workflow
  13. Develop final assembly
  14. Embed final assembly geographically (through HistoryPin or some other service; conversely or additionally, participants can develop their own KLM coordinates and data as final, submitted project)
  15. Disseminate final project: reflect on blog, embed in other mapping services, circulate via social media.

This activity is essentially a final essay of sorts, something that capstones an investigation of a place. It develops reflective capacity, technological literacy, and media literacy and extends the notion of learning well beyond the confines of the physical classroom. It presents learning in the open, in situ. It also emphasizes the role of open interaction and dissemination, that these are useful artifacts of learning for the learner and the extended audience.

Gatsby as collage; re-emphasizing the importance of place
Gatsby as collage; re-emphasizing the importance of place

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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