With the recent advancement of mobile technologies, such as smart phones, digital cameras and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), and tablet PCs mobile learning provides opportunities for formal and informal education in a wide range of settings. In particular, the use of mobile technologies to access digital libraries opens up doors for providing unique learning experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom. This paper presents the design and implementation of a mobile learning digital library infrastructure and test applications. We first conducted a user needs analysis of students, educators, and parents in order to understand desirable functional attributes and challenges associated with mobile learning. We translated this needs assessment into a list of twelve functional attributes for digital library infrastructures and mobile device applications that will facilitate informal learning. In order to test out the recommendations, a conceptual design was developed as a lesson plan that uses mobile devices and digital libraries to teach the concept of simple machines. This lesson was implemented during a workshop conducted with students in the TechBridge program, an after school program that introduces girls to technology. The students that participated in this workshop were from less affluent schools and were all members of ethnic groups that are typically underrepresented in the field of engineering. This paper summarizes the needs assessment research, implementation, testing and recommendations for future work. Our goal is to provide recommendations for mobile learning technologies that will increase access and enhance mobile learning experiences for students of all backgrounds.

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