Mobile technology was a major focus at NECC08 with many presentations talking about the time having arrived when we will not be asking our kids to leave their phones at home but instead to bring them to school. And mobile is different from portable. Laptops are portable, but mobile devices are smaller and people have access to them 24/7. This definition is found on the Learning2Go website:
“Mobile Learning is a term used to define the type of learning that takes place when the learner has some kind of mobile handheld computer, such as a PDA, Smartphone, tablet PC, games console or other portable device and can make use of the device, it’s connectivity, tools and content to learn at a time and place of the learners choosing.”
Teachers who are still resisting the integration of ICTs in their classrooms had better brace themselves because the mobile age has arrived. For those who thought managing a few desk top computers in the classroom was a bothersome hassle, the MobileMe classroom will be from another time warp. Some interesting research is being carried out on mobiles in secondary schools this year by Toni Twiss in her eFellowship and will add a very relevant kiwi perspective for local educators.
The release of the new iPhone coincided beautifully with these discussions with it having so many of the features that facilitate this type of learning experience. Sadly we did not come home with one because we were among the many who were not able or willing to be tied into the data plans being offered by the favoured vendors. We have the technology, but are still divided over the access to it.
As you can see in the clip below it didn't matter where we turned, mobiles were all around us; from the mounted policeman on duty in Cleveland, Ohio, to the man dressed as Santa holding a placard saying "Help Santa return to the Pole. His sleigh is broken." MobileMe is everywhere.