THEME 1: The Impact of Mobiles on People, Communities and Societies

Module 1:1
Mobile Life: Digital Identity, Online Communities
Module Rationale:
Society provides the fundamental medium for mobile technologies, for educational activities and for the interactions between them. Mobile technologies are increasingly important in societies, and shape the purpose, content and delivery of education. This module provides the fundamental account of these issues.
This module could be positioned anywhere from undergraduate sociology of mobilities material to kindergarten e-safety and life-skills. The approach must however match the interests and level of the learners.
The approach and material must make the global and inclusive nature of the topic explicit; these are not merely the concerns of knowledge worker, the global North or technophiles.
Avoiding moral judgments and moral panics is important; avoiding moral relativism is too. A familiarity and a critical awareness of the issues is the most desirable outcome.
Digital identities: how mobiles have implications for the visibility, privacy, permanence, intrusion, theft and performativity of our selves
Mobiles and Identity: how mobiles might be different - accounts of mobiles as embodied, prosthetic, attached
Time, spaces & places: how mobiles reconfigure ideas of time-keeping, of social time vs. physical time, of punctuality; how mobiles fragment, blur and reconfigure private vs. public spaces.
Social practices: how mobiles intrude into everyday situations causing changes in social practices and in social expectations, for example enforced eaves-dropping, tie-signs, missed calls; how the context of hierarchy, gender, formality impacts on these social practices. Appropriation: how people decide to use mobiles.
Behaviour: interactions, etiquette, standards in relation to relationships, interactions, acceptance, humour, posture, speech, discourse,
Communities: interests, ethics & objectives as defining characteristics; boundaries & overlaps; communities in cyberspace vs. communities in phone-space (Facebook, Twitter, MXit).
The Mobile and New Forms of Culture, Art and Performance: flash mobs, ring tones, downloads
Crime and Misbehaviour: cyber-bullying, blue-jacking, phishing, spamming, identity theft,
Politics and Governance: how mobiles change the balance of political processes and political power; examples such as the Arab Spring, election-monitoring, Burma, G8, political blogging in Philippines

  • Agar, J. (2003). Constant touch. Cambridge: Icon.
  • Bull, M. (2005). No dead air! The iPod and the culture of mobile listening. Leisure Studies 24(4), 343-356.
  • Du Gay, P., Hall, S., Janes, L., &Nequs, K. (1997). Doing cultural studies: The story of the Sony Walkman, London: Sage.
  • Goggin, G. (2006). Cell Phone Culture. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Katz, J. E. &Aakhus, M. (eds). (2002). Perpetual Contact - Mobile Communications, Private Talk, Public Performance. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
  • Ling, R. (2004). The mobile connection: The cell phone's impact on society. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
  • Ling, R. & J. Donner (2009). Mobile Communication. Cambridge; Polity.
  • Plant, S. (2002). On the mobile: The effects of mobile telephones on individual and social life. Motorola. Retrieved from
  • Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart mobs: The next social revolution, Cambridge, MA: Perseus.
  • Urry, J. (2007) Mobilities. London: Polity
  • Traxler, J. (2011) Context in a Wider Context, Medienpaedagogik, Zeitschriftf├╝r Theorie und Praxis der Medienbildung. The Special Issue entitled Mobile Learning in Widening Contexts: Concepts and Cases (ed.) N. Pachler, B. Bachmair& J. Cook, Vol. 19

Module 1:2
Mobile Learning
Module Rationale:
It is important to discuss the extent to which mobile technologies might be changing how, why and what we know and learn, their role in any epistemological revolution.
Finding a critical position somewhere between business-as-usual and mobiles-as-major-threat-to-civilization.
Creating reflective situations that explore metacognition and the nature of learning.
A balance portrayal of different kinds of learning and knowing; critically analyzing the trends and pressures on formal education and its institutions.
Where knowing and learning come from; changes in the content and nature knowledge
Producing, sharing, valorising, storing, transmitting, consuming ideas, images, information, identities, opinions in first cyberspace, now in phone-space; images and information just-from-here, just-from-me
How mobiles makes knowing local, partial and ephemeral; the mobile information superhighway, the global knowledge economy and indigenous epistemologies; the need for critical awareness and ethical awareness.

  • Siemens, G. (2004) Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, January 2005, Volume 2 Number 1

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