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Mobile media learning: multiplicities of place

Kurt Squire (Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin‐Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 30 January 2009




This paper seeks to build a theory of mobile media learning by studying indigenous use of these media and theorizing what impact they might have on learning and education.


Using a critical approach, the paper reviews contemporary developments in mobile media learning particularly those happening outside of schools. It includes reviews of games and/or media, literature (particularly firsthand accounts published by designers and/or users), and analyses of online communities.


Although mobile media learning has mostly been framed as “anytime, anywhere” their more profound impact may be in the experience of place. Mobile media enables a multiplicity and hybridity of place that causes opportunities and challenges to learning and education.

Research limitations/implications

To date, there has been relatively little close study of how youth use such media in educational and learning contexts, and more case studies are needed to understand the impact of mobile media on learning.

Practical implications

Those designing learning environments for a mobile media‐enabled world will need to rethink some basic assumptions about classroom configurations and learning. Rather than designing for large groups, educators might design for students to be in multiple places in time and place.


As handheld computing initiatives continue to proliferate, educators might benefit from taking a step back and reconsidering how mobile media is understood, and this paper argues that looking at mobile media as media with unique affordances makes new kinds of interactions come to light.



Squire, K. (2009), "Mobile media learning: multiplicities of place", On the Horizon, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 70-80.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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