The project on ‘School based lifewide learning using mobile technologies’ has been implemented by the Amal Shevach Mofet High School, Tel Aviv since 2013. It derives from the school’s pedagogical approach, which aspires to integrate the students into society, and views individuals as independent people and as integral parts of their community. The lifewide learning project is based on three principles: location (moving outside the classroom to learn in real-life situations), community (giving and contributing to the community) and learning (transforming the role of teachers).
Students and teachers create location-based interactive learning material to characterize some aspects of special places located in their community. The places and their characterization are selected by the teachers to cover specific subject areas of the curriculum, and the material created by the students is made available to the entire community.
The project has been effective in showing the potential of a teaching and learning approach based on involving students in projects that are meaningful and relevant for the community.
If harnessed within a clear pedagogical framework, new technologies can enhance and extend the learning environment for students. The Amal Shevach Mofet High School of Tel Aviv offers lifewide learning to its students, who are required to design and create location-based interactive learning objects (LILOs) in their local community as part of their coursework. They follow a 6-step process from researching information, to making the LILOs and peer evaluation. The aim is to give students the chance to be creators rather than passive users of technology, while interacting with and contributing to their local community.
This case study illustrates the potential of mobile technology to implement pedagogies that connect learning across school and out-of-school contexts.
While the project presented in the case is based on the use of one particular software platform, the underlying pedagogical principles and methods can be implemented using a variety of mobile technologies. In this sense, the project’s principles of location, community and learning can be considered essential components of the model for implementing lifewide learning pedagogies in schools.
There are two main characteristics that distinguish this project from some other innovations. First, the material that students develop during the implementation of each project is made available to the community afterwards and used by the other people. This is an important motivation for students and teachers, since developing ‘real-world’ products makes their schoolwork meaningful. Second, the themes of the projects that they implement are relevant for both the students and the community. This helps to contextualize the curriculum, transforming teaching and learning into a personally relevant experience. Learning that is relevant to the real life – an activity in which learners study their own environment – enhances a sense of belonging and social responsibility, nurtures a shared pool of experiences, and encourages ongoing interactive dialogue between students and their city.