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Review of Mobile Learning through Digital Media Literacy (2017), by Belinha S. de Abreu

Reviewed by ​Joni Boone

Publication Details

 OLOR Series:  ROLE Reviews
 Author(s):  ​Joni Boone
 Original Publication Date:  15 March 2020


Publication Note

This review was originally published in Research in Online Literacy, vol. 3, no. 1 (2020).

Resource Contents

Review of Mobile Learning through Digital Media Literacy  

Educators recognize the prevalence of mobile technology in daily life and sometimes struggle to understand where and how to effectively incorporate associated tools in the learning environment. As with any technology, there are risks and benefits to consider in the classroom. However, to dismiss mobile technology in education as a distraction or fad is to miss opportunities for digital media literacy. Mobile Learning through Digital Media Literacy examines the importance of mobile learning in education and how digital media literacy is a critical component of its success.

The book is divided into two parts. Part one focuses on media literacy – its connection to digital technology including associated subjects and trends. What is helpful in this section is reference to specific social media platforms that readers are aware of and use such as Twitter and Facebook. Chapter 2, which focuses on transliteracy, also emphasizes how schools and school systems should not rely on just one tool and should, instead, provide a variety of technologies tailored to specific learning needs. This chapter also aptly expresses the collaborative and creative nature of mobile learning. There is great potential for constructivist approaches to learning, rather than the top-down traditional approach, with the integration of mobile technologies and an emphasis on media literacy. There is also risk involved with mobile technologies in education, most importantly, student privacy. Chapter 4: “Privacy, Student Data – Knowledge as Empowerment,” is an important chapter exposing some poor data sharing practices that have occurred in education due to a lack of care with student data. This chapter would be useful to educators and administrators who must take precautions to protect students.

Part two of the book is based on a mixed methods designed study of students (ages 9-16), teachers, and parents in Portugal and explores how mobile technology has affected educational practices. The strength of this section of the book is the comparison of each of the stakeholders’ perceptions, which can vary or be skewed, as well as an intimate look at how each of these groups is using online social networks. Common misconceptions concerning mobile technologies and media literacy or the impact of mobile technology on learning in general are exposed. The study shows how teachers and parents are more concerned with associated risks. Through some of the example survey responses shared in the chapters, one can also see how students are thinking critically when using mobile technologies, which shows promise for media literacy education in the future. The author also leaves readers with a positive outlook on the future impact of mobile technology on informal and formal learning.

Throughout the discussions in the book, the authors emphasize the need for educators to focus on literacy and learn to integrate digital literacy through mobile technologies across disciplines. This can only happen, of course, when administrators are also behind the efforts and appropriate training is provided. Certainly, both educators and administrators would gain helpful insights from this book as they work to enhance digital literacy and consider incorporating mobile technologies in the classroom. Those outside of the field of education would also benefit from the book, as parents could become more aware of the potential risks and benefits associated with mobile technologies in their child’s educational experience and communities could better consider if they should support and fund educational initiatives involving mobile technologies.

Mobile Learning through Digital Media Literacy

Belinha S. de Abreu with Victor Tome. 2017. New York: Peter Lang. [ISBN 978-1-4331-2894-3. 214 pages..

About the Reviewer

Joni Boone has a master's degree in English and has taught and tutored composition for 15 years. For the past 6 years, she has been a faculty developer at an online university. Her research interests include multimedia feedback, plagiarism trends and prevention, and personality type in organizations and education.

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