I had the chance to listen to a recent Educause podcast, “The Future of Mobile Computing,” a webinar audio from April 2011 available via http://www.educause.edu/Resources/TheFutureofMobileComputing/227590
The guest speakers, Joanne Kossuth and Alan Levine, explained that their interests and visions for the future were not about “teaching a course on a mobile phone.” Instead, they wanted to pursue the idea of integrating into formal education the things that people are already doing, informally, pretty much everywhere — communicating and finding information via their favourite device. And it was duly noted that people are carrying their devices with them all the time.
The discussion was very much about collaboration. It described educational institutions where faculty and IT people shunned the role of ‘guru’ and thought of themselves as partners to users of mobile devices . Since it’s difficult if not impossible to keep up with the range of devices available now, it’s necessary to trust that in general, individuals know how to operate the tool they have selected even if they may need encouragement to dig deeper into its potential. So the focus might be on guiding students to learn how to find more of the “how to” information that is likely to be available for their device. No need to reinvent the technology training wheel, it seems that a more important part of the teaching/support role is to find ways to enhance students’ abilities to move forward work creatively in this environment to accomplish goals related to their area of study.
As always in education technology discussions, the conversation turned to the fact that money is tight. But solutions like free apps, trial apps, etc. were considered as well as the idea of putting energy towards having students involved in developing their own mobile applications as part of their program work. That last idea is certainly not for everyone, but it has very interesting potential.
I’m sure the June 21 webinar will be available as a podcast shortly after the live session, providing a very convenient way to learn about new mobile strategies.
(note – this was also posted on the RRU blog http://faculty.myrru.royalroads.ca/blog/ewellburn/podcast-mobile-learning)