mLearning, myLearning, myWay

Penny Coutas is a teacher at
Melville SHS, a research student at
Murdoch University, and puts Warta
WILTA together in her spare time.
The following is a summary of her
ASILE conference presentation.

The use of portable (mobile)
technologies such as Personal
Data Assistants (PDAs), portable
music players, and mobile
phones in education is the
traditional definition of
‘mLearning.’ In the following, I
will outline different ways mobile
technologies can be used both
inside and outside the LOTE
classroom to facilitate Indonesian
language learning, and provide
links to valuable resources and
contacts. However, first I want to
challenge the traditional definition
of ‘mLearning.’ Many mobile
technology providers promote
mLearning as part of their
commercial enterprise with a
strong emphasis on the features
and benefits of the (specific) tool
or device. Nokia, for example, is
currently advertising their N95
phone as a ‘computer in your
pocket’ ready for learning. But if
we place the emphasis on the
learning and the learner rather
than on the ’m’ tool, our
perspective shifts. In recognising
that it is the learner who is
mobile, mLearning becomes a
learning style rather than a

learning tool, of which the use of
mobile technologies are a small
part of the whole learning
experience. After all, our
students don’t just learn in the
classroom, and we must
encourage (and teach skills) for
learning Indonesian both inside
and outside of school. Hence
many of the ideas to follow are
not (only) meant for Indonesian
language learning within the
classroom, rather they are to
extend mLearners’ opportunities
for language practice and
language use in a variety of
environments. In this case it’s
using the powerful technologies
they carry around in their
pockets, but mLearning really
does go further than ICTs, and
we need to keep that in mind.
PDAs are now as powerful as
many desktop computers still
used for word-processing and
basic functions. With wireless
internet access, a PDA can be a
mini internet-enabled computer in
a student’s hand. Just imagine
the possibilities! However,
research has shown that high
school and primary students
rarely have access to PDAs.
They are far more likely to have
access to a mobile phone (which
are becoming more like PDAs
anyway!), mp3 players and
portable gaming devices than
any other technology (computers
included). PDA links:

Video phones
Most mobile phones now come
with cameras that are capable of
taking both photos and video. In
my year nine classes, students
A few of the mobile device options available
now have access to ~15 video
cameras whereas previously we
would have to borrow one or two
from the library and return them
well before the end of session.
By using their phone cameras,
students are able to view
themselves listening, responding
and speaking Indonesian, review
their performance, and follow an
action-reflection cycle with ease.
This also makes for great
samples for any learning
Audio recorders and players
Mobile phones also usually have
an audio recording feature, and
many now also act as mp3
players. Mp3 players may also
have audio recording functions.
A quiz buzzer
Why not get students to use their
mobile phone ringtones as a
buzzer in a class quiz?
Further on the subject of
ringtones, creating a ringtone
dalam bahasa Indonesia can be
a great speaking task!
Blogging (web log) sites such as often
have mobile-phone posting
available to users. This is a

useful feature when on school
excursions: students can blog
(known as ‘moblogging’) right
from their phones! A good
example of this is at
Last year I wrote about
podcasting in Indonesian, but
now it’s so much easier with
increased access to mobile
phones and mp3 players. is a great
(free) podcasting site which
provides storage and promotion
of your podcasts.
Bahasa HP
Most mobile phones’ set
language can be changed to
bahasa Indonesia. Even trying to
put your phone back into English
is a great VRR exercise! Or
check out some SMS Indonesian
slang in the many books written
on the subject. A kamus bahasa
SMS is at
Calendar functions
Mobile phones and mp3 players
usually have a calendar/reminder
function. How about getting
students to remind themselves
about homework, or the week’s
‘essential vocabulary’?

Text messaging
Many Indonesian bands (Sheila
on 7, PeterPan), newspapers
(Kompas) and even President
SBY invite you to send them
SMS’s which will then be posted
on their website or otherwise
replied to.
Mobile network websites
All of the major mobile networks
in Indonesia have impressive
webpages where you can explore
HP functions and even shop via
your phone. Just search for XL
(pictured above), Telkomsel,
Jempol or Simpati.
Mobile Apps & Translators
Ectaco make flash cards for
mobile phones, and Berlitz are
currently developing Indonesian
phrase programs and translators
for phones (imagine: you go to a
toko and press a button on your
phone to hear ‘berapa
harganya?’). But if your students
want to make their own
applications, Maxdox ( is a free
program that allows you to create
flash cards, m-books, business
cards and lots more. And what a
great co-curricular activity with
iPod Multimedia content
Mogopop ( is
a free service to create iPod content. I use this to learn new
vocab while at the gym!



See Penny on Facebook

Return to ASILE 2007 Proceedings

Bluetooth allows for wireless data
transmission. Students can share
files, play (language) games, and
join in quizzes via bluetooth.
Museum projects have also
started up where visitors receive
information via bluetooth to their
phone when they’re near an
exhibit. But what about in
classroom reality? Well, Salling
Clicker is a great program that
enables you to control
PowerPoint, DVD, iTunes and
other computer programs via
your mobile phone. Excellent for
‘clicking’ forward on slides while
presenting without having to be
near your computer
Global Positioning Service
devices are becoming very
popular (those gadgets for your
car that tell you where to go).
Some of the newer phones and
PDAs also have GPS. With
GPS-enabled phones and PDAs,
students can “Create-A-Scape”
Like to know more?
Some Tips
• Have an explicit mobile
phone usage policy for your
class that students sign to
acknowledge agreement.
• Be aware of dangers such as
‘cyber bullying’ and theft, and
make students aware of
• Use of mobile devices for
learning should always be a
choice/option, never
mandated (unless everyone
The XL (a mobile network provider) webpage is a great resource