Mobile Cell Phones: Key To Learning Of The Future?

September 8, 2009 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

I’m sure all of our readers know how much of a punk kid I am and how much I love to show that being yourself pays off in the end. And if your parents have ever told you to get off the computer or game console and do something constructive, then I’m sure you know what I mean. From the rise and fall of portable CD players to dominance of mp3 players, generation-y teens and young adults have grown up with what my parents would consider to be, “mobile distraction devices”, at their fingertips for the better part of 15 years now. For far too long, we’ve been told by authority figures, parents, and teachers that the use of these machines hinders the process of learning and turns us into mindless drones. But we know better!

I’m sure that I, like most general tech-savvy consumers, am incapable of pinpointing the the precise value of today’s mobile technology industry. However with ABI Research anticipating that the mobile advertising market alone will be worth $19 billion by 2011, I’d say it’s a safe bet that the media and software operating on these systems is doing a little more for the average user than distracting them from the proverbial chalkboard. Technology in the classroom is becoming more and more prevalent every day by means of high school classes like web design and software development replacing general technology shop and writing classes. With these new forms of techie-ed, one should expect that students will embrace the tools that they’re being instructed to use, both for educational and recreational purposes. Most students will honestly proclaim that for everytrack streamed and every game downloaded that they have utilized the same technological medium for answering a question or solving a problem.

This alone should be enough to prove our interest in mobile software and media isn’t a brain drain, but skeptics like to hear it from someone they trust. That’s why I’m glad I stumbled upon today’s interesting piece of literature from Science Daily.

Enjoy! And thanks for reading!


Mobile Cell Phones: Key To Learning Of The Future?

ScienceDaily (Sep. 7, 2009) — In today’s classroom, mobile phones are seen as a nuisance, but they can be the key to a new, personal way of learning, according to Prof. Marcus Specht of the Open Universiteit Nederland.

Today’s learners — of all age groups — use their mobiles in nearly all their daily activities. Mobile media enable learners to access information and learning support whenever they need. “The students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their situation or context. Nothing more. Nothing less. And they want it at the moment the need arises. Not sooner. Not later. Mobiles will be a key technology to provide that learning support,” says Dr. Specht, who is professor for Advanced Learning Technologies of the Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC) at the Open Universiteit Nederland.

Digital nomads

More than 50% of the world population use a mobile phone today. In the Netherlands almost all children of 15 year old have a mobile phone. Digital natives (those who grow up with computers, internet and mobile devices) use mobile media as tools for informal learning and for everyday living. This influences the way they communicate, live and learn. The key question is what this use of mobile learning tools means for learning. In other words: how can we unleash the power of contextual effects with ubiquitous technology for learning. It calls for a rethinking of education with its classical educational settings.
As a start to answering this question, Specht has developed a conceptual model to describe patterns of contextual learning support with mobile media. He is presenting this model in his inaugural address entitled ‘Learning in a Technology Enhanced World’ during the Mobile Learning in Context symposium at the Open Universiteit Nederland in Heerlen.

Side by side

Mobile technology changes the way we learn, it can augment our capabilities to connect with others, it enhances our physical environment, it enables new ways of learning at school, home, and at work.
Specht claims that the technology enhanced world is not a constraining factor for introducing learning support, but a real enabler for instructional designs of the future. However technological innovation and educational paradigms should develop side by side. Education providers, innovators of technologies and instructional methodologists should collaborate to enhance learning with technology. This will mean in some instances a drastic change of the educational systems and organizations we know today. It also means that in some instances new technologies, being invented or used for education today, will be hyped, fade away, or probably used for something completely different in 20 years.
The inaugural address is part of the symposium Mobile Learning in Context. The symposium highlights several important aspects of mobile learning like personalization, contextualization, accessibility, informal learning, and nomadic learning support. The goal is to provide researchers and practitioners a new vision of technology enhanced education with contextualized mobile learning. For more information, see:

Mobile Cell Phones: Key To Learning Of The Future? 7 September 2009. 8 Setember 2009.


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