What are Mobiles?

Mobiles as a category have proven more interesting and more capable with each passing year. The mobile market today has more than 6 billion subscribers, more than two-thirds of whom live in developing countries. Well over a billion new phones are produced each year, a flow of continuous enhancement and innovation that is unprecedented in modern times. The fastest-growing sales segment belongs to smart phones — which means that a massive and increasing number of people all over the world now own and use a computer that fits in their hand and is able to connect to the network wirelessly from virtually anywhere. Ericsson predicts that by 2015, 80% of people accessing the Internet worldwide will be doing so from a mobile device. In developed countries, it is quite common for young people to carry their own mobile devices. In the upper grades, it is not at all unusual, indeed commonplace, to find schools in which every student carries a mobile, even if they are not allowed to use them during class. The unprecedented evolution of these devices continues to generate great interest, and their increasing capabilities make them more useful with each new generation of devices. The ability to run third-party applications represents a fundamental change in the way we regard mobiles and opens the door to a myriad of uses for education, entertainment, productivity, and social interaction -- as such, Mobile Apps earned its own category this year.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Networked and mobile technology offers an unprecedented opportunity to bridge formal and informal learning in tertiary education/HE (and schools). Hooking into what motivates our students’ use of mobile devices (informal learning) and building on this for formal learning that we value in HE is a key. This is possible because of the convergence into one device of the opportunity for communicating, interacting, sharing, meaning-making, and content generation. Last year I have co-authored the first 'authored’ (rather than edited) book on Mobile Learning for Springer (http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/learning+%26+instruction/book/978-1-4419-0584-0). - john.cook john.cook Nov 7, 2011
  • Mobiles offer just-in-time access to information--particularly through the use of social media. When coupled with guided instructional activities, mobile devices enable students to access information from the social web in location-specific contexts and at times relevant to their learning. - jasonr jasonr Nov 8, 2011
  • One application that is just starting to emerge is in-classroom use of pads/tablets. Some schools are already experimenting with iPads in the hands of students; with iPads connect wirelessly with Apple TV. any student can become a presenter; it's like having access to the blackboard/whiteboard from your mobile device. - mbrown mbrown Nov 11, 2011
  • We are currently working on a mobile strategy for our institution that will mean our staff and students have 24/7 access to learning and teaching materials. At the present time, mobile technology is a massivley underused resource, and we are looking into both mobile phones and ipads as a way of both delivering and uploading content.- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 17, 2011
  • Clearly, with deep budget cuts occurring in all sectors of traditional education, the role of mobiles is gaining more and more ground. BYOM (bring your own mobile device) is becoming a necessity as school districts simply can't afford computer labs in the ways done so even a couple of years ago. The iPad2 is becoming a positive choie over a desktop for many reasons: cost, portability, and the multiple ways it can be used in the classroom. Mobile devices have easy video and audio recording capabilities that make it possible for students to expand the way they deliver reports and information. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 19, 2011
  • There are some fantastic programs developing that are working with mobile technology. One of the aspects that the use of mobile offers instructors and students is the ability to extend the learning environment of the class in unique ways that draw from the strengths of both the face-to-face synchronous and online asynchronous paradigms. These devices provides access to data, communications and a number of options for observation and collection; despite the discussion on the capabilities presented by apps not being approached for the moment. In terms of fostering collaboration and interaction within any situation or environments that has access to network coverage, it is a great solution. Dr. Richard Beck, a professor of Psychology at Abilene Christian University, and some of his students decided to take their exploration of a local legendary ghost light out of the classroom and out to the action armed with their iPhones. Note that Ghost Busting is not part of any degree plan, but looking for truth and understanding are part of the fundamentals of learning. Long story short, they were able to coordinate the efforts, track each others positions, perform experiments and examine out comes as a class without being physically together, but still acting as a group. In the end, they were able to solve a mystery that has been around for a long, long time. (http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2011/06/anson-light-busted.html). - Dougdar Dougdar Nov 20, 2011
  • Mobiles are beginning to converge with many other technologies, further enhancing their potential for teaching and learning. One area still to be addressed is the mobiles' uneven adoption in HED. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Nov 21, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • In the book on Mobile Learning (mentioned in 1 above) we point to the key relationship between 'structures, agency and cultural practices' (see book or see slideshare). Very briefly, by this we mean structures (new media platforms like Social Networking Sites, YouTube) and mobile devices are related to each other (and related to individual agency/motivations, practice). For example, recent data (Mobithinking, http://mobithinking.com/blog/mobile-net-stats) has pointed to the trend whereby mobile users spend a lot more time (agency) on social networking sites (structures) than PC users (cultural practices). - john.cook john.cook Nov 7, 2011
  • John raises a critical point--the focus here should be on M-Learning--a growing area of Instructional Technology research that asks how forms of learning--from collaborative learning to distributed and informal models--can be best investigated- jasonr jasonr Nov 8, 2011
  • I suggest that this category needs to move on from phones to tablets/pads.Ps. Sorry, just saw the separate category for tablets :-/ - mbrown mbrown Nov 11, 2011
  • I wonder about the dividing line between phones and tablets/pads. There seem to be some challenges in using the basic and flexible functionality of voice and text that mobile phones provide and some tablets and pads are preferred in some circumstances because they avoid the challenge. What innovative uses of voice and text are being developed? - Gavin Gavin Nov 20, 2011
  • One of my chief concerns in the use of mobile technologies is that unless we provide the hardware for all students, we are in danger of creating a system of haves and have nots that will mean some students may get left behind because they don't have the tools they need. The obvious solution is to provide every student with the hardware they will need when they join the university, but there are financial political and logistical problems associated with that. We are also working on the assumption that if we provide the hardware and infrastructure, students will be capable of using the technology we give them without training, and I worry that we may overestimate their technological capabilities.- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 17, 2011 agree - helga helga Nov 18, 2011
  • Mobile devices offer portability allow the classroom to be expanded beyond walls. [[user:deborah.heal|1321740562]``==(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?== * I am convinced we have reached the tipping point for wide-spread adoption of mobile devices. - john.cook john.cook Nov 7, 2011
  • I think we've started to "tip" already--one important challenge in this area is the lack of device agnostic applications. Device specific adoption ultimately leads to disenfranchised groups who don't have the technology, and thus lack access to innovative teaching and learning applications. ACU has overcome this issue--but are one of the few to invest in systemic, standardized adoption of iOS devices. The development of HTML 5-based mobile apps is still in its infancy--but there's lots of room for growth in this area.- jasonr jasonr Nov 8, 2011
    • Yes, I agree with this. Maybe this could be tied into the apps discussion? - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • I just read a report in NYT that the smart phone "inflection point" (ownership by at least 50% of the population) will happen by mid-year 2012. I also think that if mobility is highlighted again in the HR it should be more nuanced and focus on the tablet/pad. The tablet/pad is more significant for teaching and learning since it is a better tool for both content consumption and content creation. Smartphones have arrived; their adoption horizon is negative ;-0. The tablet/pad is close but still in the future. - mbrown mbrown Nov 11, 2011
  • If we provide our students with the relevant technology and the training, they may start to see learning as an integral part of the infrastructure of their lives, rather than something that just happens in the lab or the lecture theatre, which can only be a good thing. Mobile devices increasing blur the boundaries between our work and home lives, and if this is reflected in the education we provide, then surely we are preparing them for the switched on world they will be entering when they graduate.- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Nov 17, 2011
  • These tools allow students to expand upon ways that information can be gathered, processed and delivered. It allows the opportunity for new tech skills to be developed such as video production, podcasting, using augmented reality and social networking to create reports that are truly relevant, educational and timely. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 19, 2011
  • For years there has been convergence of a number of devices that have led to the rise of the smart phone as the dominant data device that it has become (http://www.gizmag.com/smartphone-sales/19723/). While the mobile devices continues to become more refined in terms of processing, memory and storage, as well as features, it is the functional diversity available through apps and peripherals that have a incredible potential across the spectrum of learning and research. While we address the apps in another section, there does not seem to be any consideration being given to the power and potential that exists with mobile when in conjunction with the wide-range of supported peripherals. A few examples of some of the peripherals showing up that have potential application are as follows:I think we're rapidly getting to the point where "mobile devices" are just "devices" - that is, mobile is no longer a trend but the norm. - amichaelberman amichaelberman

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


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