iPhone, Chocolate, Prada, n90, Razr, Q, they can all do the job!

With all the talk, some of it hype and a lot of it beyond hype (i.e. justified excitement, the iPhone will be very powerful), I thought I would write a post about mobile phones and their place in the m-Learning landscape. My personal opinion is that mobile phones, not iPods/mp3 players or traditional PDAs, will be the vessels that bring true mobile learning. But as all of these devices converge into mobile PCs, there will be several common characteristics –

  • they will be able to connect to the Web (whether by WiFi, 3g wireless connection, USB, satelite, etc.) and to each other
  • they will play multiple forms of media (video, audio, text)
  • they will allow users to create, rather than just consume (ala mp3 players)
  • they will be relatively small so they can continue to be mobile

These devices will vary in shape, size, power and other features, but they will all fit the description mentioned above. The important thing for the learning community is not the connection, nor the size, nor the specific feature set of the device. The important thing is that we embrace these devices, even with all of their flaws (screen size, processing power to name a couple). There is one thing that these devices offer than no other device really offers, and that is the opportunity to learn anytime, anywhere. And they can learn at the point of want (POW) as well as the point of need (PON).

PCs, whether laptops, mini-PCs or desktops, are not the kind of devices that people carry with them anytime. Mobile devices have all that’s necessary to facilitate learning. And these devices are on the user almost all of the time, save for sleeping and showers, though some techno-junkies break that rule. These devices are the only devices that take advantage of a key component of life… boredom, and it’s partner, procrastination.

If you have a mobile phone, you know how it goes. You’re waiting for the train… you’re checking emails, news, scores, mySpace comments and anything else that might take your mind off of your present state of boredom. The same goes for meetings, although you act like you’re frantically replying to some important “mission-critical” request. These devices could easily be forced into service as learning tools, delivering training at those points of boredom and procrastination.

For a similar take from much more educated and credible sources, check out Mark Prensky’s article “What can you learn from a cell-phone?“, and one of my favorite Blogs, Keitei from South Africa. If you’re new to mobile learning, these should get you started. Check back soon! and thanks for stopping by!

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