A practical example - when I was an online tutor last year, there were days when it was not possible for me to get to a computer and so I simply used my mobile phone to log in to our virtual classroom, read new posts and reply to the most urgent ones. Surely, doing that on a mobile phone takes a bit more time, but when you're waiting for an appointment or traveling on a train you are actually happy to have something to pass time with :) The greatest problem I see is the fact that virtual classrooms are made for big desktop screens and working with them on tiny mobile screens can be a bit frustrating. However, I think that this problem could be solved in a number of ways - maybe by providing a mobile friendly version with less graphics or even by having a java application that just collects new content (like the Gmail mobile java client - I just installed it today and it looks great!) and perhaps even saves new content on the phone so that it is available when the network signal is low or in a foreign country where the connection costs are too high. Nowadays the technology enables many things and I really hope that LMS providers will start thinking about mobile devices as well. After all, why shouldn't we have a "large screen" and a "small screen" version of the same system?
But of course - I think mobile phones can be much more than just a supplement to web learning. I think that the specifics of mobile phones could be used to connect and interact with other people and the environment in new ways - especially by using location based services. And that's something I'm patiently waiting for mobile providers to develop. Much of the technology is already at hand - we just need great ideas to transform existing technology in services that connect people and allow new forms of interactions and knowledge construction.
(Footnote: For anyone looking for more resources on m-learning - here's an interesting blog about mobile learning that I found today during my morning news reading routine :) )
Note: This is just an archive post. The blog has moved to a new home at blog.ialja.com, where you will also find a copy of the entire blog.