Mobile Learning can come at a Price ?

I didn’t intend to become addicted, I have asked myself this many times, how did this happen? I simply wanted to ease the pain in my shoulder.  A few months back I was involved in a hiking accident, where I fell and damaged my shoulder. The doctor had to operate and he said I would make a full recovery.

I have never been one for pain and the pain from the fall and then after, from surgery was just something I could not handle. I was given some pretty strong pain medication. The medication took the pain away and made me feel good; I could function during the day. Maybe I should have asked the doctor what the side effects were to the medication, I don’t know, but when I should have been stopping the painkillers I seemed to be taking more and more. Liberty Home is a popular retreat for sober living in Cape Town where people that are recovering from a variety of addictive behaviours can find solace and safety.

The doctor said I would have slight pain for a while, but I couldn’t seem to even manage that. Whenever an ache came into my shoulder I would pop a pill. I found I was taking twice the dosage and it seemed to not be working as it should. I tried to stop taking the medication, but I started sweating, and shaking so bad, I couldn’t eat and so started taking them again.

I don’t know why I didn’t realize what was happening, I just didn’t want to feel the way I did and taking the pills helped.  I eventually was getting so tired, irritable and I didn’t want to go out anymore. I stayed in my home; my family were worried about me. I started lashing out at them and couldn’t handle the emotional ups and downs that were happening and eventually neither could they. Mobile Learning has made access to a variety of platforms that allow sufferers easy access to a wealth of online information to assist them in finding best solution.


Finally my doctor refused to prescribe further medication. So I went to see another doctor and told a story that would get me another prescription. I even found myself one day at a friend’s house, in the bathroom, rummaging through there medicine cabinet. I found some of their pain killers they use and actually took or I should rather say stole them. I mean who does that? I did momentarily stop and stare at myself in the bathroom mirror. I could not recognize the person staring back at me. I looked so pale, thin with sunken dull eyes. This is the moment I had a clear thought, how did I get here? Why did this happen to me? I needed to find a professional rehab in Cape Town that could advise my on how to best cope with my situation.

I am grateful for the family and friends I have. They saw and understood I needed help. One day they all came together and decided enough was enough. I think I knew when I walked into the room that something was up. This was an intervention. They had already packed my bags for me, I had to acknowledge my problem and make a decision. I was angry at first, resisting, but after listening to each of them tell me what they were feeling and how my behaviour was affecting them, I decided I needed help.

I was told I could not just stop taking the painkillers myself at this moment because it could cause some problems. I needed to go to rehab and they had to supervise my recovery to start off with. The whole process I must admit is not something I would like to endure again. The doctors and everybody were great and I came out the other side feeling like a new person. The therapy sessions are helping me to deal with issues I thought I had left behind. Holding onto old anger and hurts I need to forgive and let go.

Now that I look back on my journey, I feel I should have avoided the whole mess somehow. But in a way I am glad I endured and feel I have come out stronger and wiser than I was before.






Keynote Speakers at the Conference

Graham Brown-Martin
Handheld Learning

Graham Brown-Martin is the founder of Handheld Learning, a consultancy and software developer based in London. He also operates the online Handheld Learning Forum ( that is a rich discussion environment for academics, educators and developers to share knowledge, experiences and ideas. His 20 year career has been divided between developing leading edge technology for education and working in the entertainment software industries

Desmond Keegan
Managing Director, Distance Education International
Director, Irish Centre for Distance Education Research and Applications

Desmond Keegan was the founding chief executive of the Italian open university system, the Consorzio per l’Universita a Distanza. Prior to that he worked for many years in distance education in Australia. Today he is managing director of Distance Education International in Dublin, Ireland.

He has designed, administered and brought to a successful conclusion a wide range of European Commission in the Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Interreg programmes.

He has contributed to the literature of distance education, e-learning and m-learning. Among his publications are: Distance education: international perspectives.(Croom Helm 1983), Foundations of distance education.(Croom Helm.1986) Theoretical principles of distance education.(Routledge 1993) Distance education: new perspectives. (Routledge 1993) The industrialization of teaching and learning. (Routledge.1994). Distance training in the European Union. (European Commission 1997) Distance training: taking stock at a time of change Routledge, 2000). From e-learning to m-learning (FernUniversitat 2002).

Cathleen Norris
Department of Technology and Cognition
University of North Texas

Cathleen A. Norris is a Professor in the Department of Technology and Cognition, College of Education at the University of North Texas, in Denton, TX. Dr. Norris’ efforts in research, teaching and service all have a common focus: integrate learning technologies more effectively into classrooms, in K-12 as well as post-secondary education. Norris was a President of the National Educational Computer Association (NECA) the organizing body for the country’s leading education and technology conference, the National Educational Computing Conference, and she was a President of ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education. In the Project, Norris has carried out a multi-year, multi-thousand, country-wide survey of K-12 educators as to their technology needs, beliefs, and uses. The WebKids Project is exploring design guidelines that address the unique needs of children as they use the Internet and in the Convergent Analysis Project, Norris is developing strategies to help educators extract value from the research literature on technology in education. In her most recent effort, the Handheld-Centric Classroom Project, Norris is exploring the use of low-cost, mobile computing and communications technologies to more effectively address the learning needs of today’s digital age children.

Adi Paterson

Chief Operating Officer: Department of Science and Technology, SA

Dr Adi Paterson was born in Durban, South Africa in1956. He is a graduate of the University of Cape Town with a B.Sc. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. (Engineering). Following a period of research on ceramic materials, including a post-doctoral year at the University of Leeds in the UK, he became Director of the Division of Materials Science and Technology at the CSIR in 1990. He became an Executive Vice-President: Technology and Policy in 1996 and became joint CIO of the CSIR and University of Pretoria during 2000 and 2001.  In October 2001 he was seconded to the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, now the Department of Science and Technology. He is currently holding the position of Chief Operating Officer.

He was a member of the task team that drafted the South African Green Paper on Science and Technology in 1995.  In November 1998 he was appointed to the National Advisory Council for Innovation (NACI), the highest-level body providing advice to government on science, technology and innovation issues.  He serves on the Executive of NACI.

He was elected to the Academy of Science of South Africa in 1994 and to the South African Academy of Engineering in 2002.  He is the international and policy executive member of the newly established South African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA).



The Conference Theme

Mobile technology:  The future of learning in your hands

The objectives for these conferences have been defined as follows:

  • To promote the development of mLearning, globally, but especially in developing countries.
  • To stimulate critical debate on and research into theories, approaches, principles and applications of mLearning (mobile learning).
  • To share local and international developments, experiences and lessons learned.
  • To promote networking and business opportunity development.
  • To encourage the study and implementation of mobile applications in teaching and learning.
  • To stimulate and assist personal professional development and the development of new skills for educators.
  • To provide a forum for education and knowledge transfer.
  • To facilitate dialogue, sharing and networking between diverse cultures with regard to the optimum use of emerging technologies.

Topics of interest are:

  • From pilot projects to mainstream implementation: strategies for the large-scale deployment of mLearning
  • Mobile technology to support open and distance learning (ODL)
  • mLearning and mobile technology applications in teaching and learning
  • Mobile technology for student and learning support
  • Mobile technology for educator and teaching support
  • Assessment techniques and practices in mLearning
  • Design and development of learning material for mLearning
  • Informal and lifelong learning with the aid of mobile technology
  • Challenges for mLearning in developing countries
  • Building and implementing mLearning Strategies in Educational Institutions, Companies and Public Sector Organisations
  • Effective and efficient management of mLearning processes
  • mLearning management systems (mLMSs)
  • Creating interactive and collaborative mLearning environments
  • Future trends in mLearning technology, including the impact of emerging technologies
  • Emerging hardware and software for mLearning
  • Mass individualisation
  • Improving the quality of mLearning through evaluation; including mobile assessment and certification
  • mLearning as a tool for social change
  • Ambient intelligence and ambient learning
  • Innovation in learning theory and pedagogy
  • Learning objects and metadata for mLearning