| 2009 Short List
Time-to-Adoption: One year or Less
Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years
Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
Over the past few years, mobiles have undergone a continual transformation, becoming more capable and flexible with each new release. The ability to record audio and video turned them into tiny multimedia devices; as storage capacity increased, they became the storehouses of our digital lives; and geolocation, web browsing, and email has brought much of the functionality of a laptop to the pocket-sized devices. Then, a year ago, another transformation took place. Devices with touch screen displays appeared on the market. These new mobiles can access the Internet over the increasingly higher-speed 3G networks or by using wifi, and they can sense motion and orientation and react accordingly thanks to built-in accelerometers. They can use GPS to locate themselves and can run robust applications. They communicate with other devices. Most significantly, their manufacturers are working with the developer community to open up the devices to all the innovation that third-party developers can bring.
New interfaces, the ability to connect to wifi and GPS in addition to a variety of cellular networks, and the availability of third-party applications have created an almost entirely new device with nearly infinite possibilities for education, networking, and personal productivity. The implications for education are dramatic: the potential for mobile gaming and simulation, research aids, fieldwork, and tools for learning of all kinds is there, awaiting development.
Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression
- Nearly every student carries a mobile device, making it a natural choice for content delivery and even field work and data capture: mobiles and their networks are virtually everywhere.
- Language learners can install applications on their mobiles that let them look up words, practice hearing and speaking, and practice writing.
- Detailed reference materials are available for medicine and astronomy; graphing calculator applications turn mobiles into sophisticated mathematical tools; hundreds of flash card applications are available for an array of subjects; and Google Earth now can be installed on mobile devices.
- ChemiCal is a chemical calculation application for the iPhone: http://www.twssworldwide.com/ChemiCal.html
- The iPhone version of Google Earth includes all the detail of the desktop version and is available in 18 languages: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/introducing-google-earth-for-iphone.html
- Math tools like Kids’ Fraction Fun help students practice skills they are learning in school in a game-like format on the iPod Touch: http://www.nscpartners.com/kidsmathfun62233
- Poll Everywhere uses short messaging service (SMS) messages to allow student response in place of expensive clicker systems: http://www.polleverywhere.com/
- Seismometer uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to visualize and measure seismic variation. http://iphone3g-india.com/detect-earthquake-using-iphone-seismometer-iphone-app/
For Further Reading
How Mobile Is Changing Our Society
(Teemu Arina, Tarina, 18 October 2008.) This blog post explores the blurring boundary between mobile devices and computers and the potential future of what we now call mobiles.
iPhone: 3 Features That Will Impact Education
(Jeff VanDrimmelen, EduTechie.com, 12 June 2007.) This blog post describes three features of the iPhone – multi-touch display, widgets, and iPhone applications with full Internet access.
Mobile Learning in Classrooms of the Future
(Suren Ramasubbu & Bruce Wilcox, Converge, September 2008.) This article describes the potential of smart phones to revolutionize K12 education.