What are Mobiles?

Mobiles as a category have proven more interesting and more capable with each passing year. The mobile market today has more than 6 billion subscribers, more than two-thirds of whom live in developing countries. Well over a billion new phones are produced each year, a flow of continuous enhancement and innovation that is unprecedented in modern times. The fastest-growing sales segment belongs to smartphones — which means that a massive and increasing number of people all over the world now own and use a computer that fits in their hand and is able to connect to the network wirelessly from virtually anywhere. Ericsson predicts that by 2015, 80% of people accessing the Internet worldwide will be doing so from a mobile device. In developed countries, it is quite common for young people to carry their own mobile devices. In the upper grades, it is not at all unusual, indeed commonplace, to find schools in which every student carries a mobile, even if they are not allowed to use them during class. The unprecedented evolution of these devices continues to generate great interest, and their increasing capabilities make them more useful with each new generation of devices. The ability to run third-party applications represents a fundamental change in the way we regard mobiles and opens the door to myriad uses for education, entertainment, productivity, and social interaction.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • For many schools, funding 1:1 computing may be out of reach. But given the growth of mobiles, those same schools may be able to achieve 1:1 through mobiles. - jean.tower jean.tower Feb 23, 2012. From an African perspective, I strongly agree with Jean. - sarietjie.musgrave sarietjie.musgrave Mar 4, 2012 In Brazil this is exactly what is happening. Even those kids with limited access to computers or tablets have access to smartphones. [[user:cristiana.mattos|1330900714] The trend in Africa is towards increasing subscription of smart phones, despite the current predominance of feature phones in the hands of increasing numbers of people, including learners and teachers. * Mobile devices may be the cornerstone of future BYOD-strategies in schools. For some regions, especially Africa, investing in mobile computing may enable them to leapfrog computing in the classroom.- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 27, 2012 Examples in Africa indicates that mobile devices are students only understanding of technology. They only use mobile devices and do not return to PC/laptops - it is their only means of being connected. - sarietjie.musgrave sarietjie.musgrave Mar 4, 2012 In Africa, in cases where mobile phones have been officially allowed as part of curriculum delivery, the bulk of learning appears to be taking place informally in ways that reinforces classroom practice.- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Mar 4, 2012
  • Access to the internet will be essential for student directed learning and mobile BYOD strategies will be the best way to help students have the tools they need to learn.- holly.jobe holly.jobe Mar 3, 2012
  • Mobiles have been an emerging technology in the last few Horizon Reports? Are they still emerging or have they hit mainstream. There is no doubt they are having an impact in the education space from K-12, to Higher education. I wonder whether the emerging technology is the 'mobile ecosystem' which requires mobile devices, great bandwidth and access to cloud services....once we align this ecosystem with content, services and analytics we should have some potential for a real game changer in education. Then such concepts as mobile pedagogy become really important.- garry.putland garry.putland Mar 3, 2012
  • In my part of the world all our students in upper secondary education are bringing their own laptop and in addition of course their Smartphone. Our research shows that they don’t find that the phone can replace their computer but they use it as a supplement to take photos (e.g. of the blackboard) and videos (podcasts) or to communicate with each others during project work. - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Mar 4, 2012
  • I think from an African perspective, we did not have the opportunity to move from learning to e-learning to m-learning: Mobile devices and accessibility to it allowed us to leapfrog from learning to m-learning. Africa is joining the digital age via mobile devices an not via the PC root.- sarietjie.musgrave sarietjie.musgrave Mar 4, 2012 The reality is there where learners are learning with technologies in Africa, the PC still predominates across the continent because of large scale government programs to roll out PC-based technologies. However this may be eclipsed by more pervasive ownership of mobile phones by learners across the continent, who will increasingly appropriate them for learning.- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Mar 4, 2012
  • More than ever teaching about proper use of devices such as these is necessary. Every school should look at teaching about digital citizenship and responsible uses, so that these devices would be allowed and used in the classroom for educational purposes. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Bandwidth - whether you know it or not, whether you admit it or not, mobiles are in your school and probably on your network. Bandwidth and a robust infrastructure are more important than providing the end-user device. - jean.tower jean.tower Feb 23, 2012 Great point! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012
  • How do we handle digital divide and access issues? - oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 27, 2012 ...or does BYOD solve the divide and access issue? - bwatwood bwatwood Feb 27, 2012
  • There are unresolved issues with regard to strengthening the knowledge base about what kind of learning strategies mobile devices can support and how we best can develop mobile content aligned with these educational needs- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 27, 2012
  • I think it's critical that we maintain the connection between the mobiles themselves and the content and/or apps that enable students to learn with them. Mobiles for mobiles sake doesn't change student learning. It's what they students do with those devices and the content that the can access that changes teaching and learning. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Feb 29, 2012
  • Helping teachers manage their classrooms and curricular content in a mobile learning environment. They will need more PD and help developing a great assignment that doesn't rely on specific technology.- holly.jobe holly.jobe Mar 3, 2012 Agree- sarietjie.musgrave sarietjie.musgrave Mar 4, 2012 Exactly! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012
  • Mobile technology could be disruptive as it is different to previous forms of access. Students are used to it. How can teachers become proactive in the use of mobile deveices in the class room instead of being reactive?- sarietjie.musgrave sarietjie.musgrave Mar 4, 2012 Great question! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012
  • Much of the conversation is about using mobile devices in the classroom when the reality is that where they are used, the bulk of use and learning takes place in personalized, self-directed ways outside of classroom practice. We need to understand this phenomenon more.- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Mar 4, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Melt the limitations of the brick-and-mortar structure. Blur lines between formal and informal learning. Increase student engagement. Push transition toward individualized instruction, learning, and assessment. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Feb 29, 2012 Agree! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012
  • Interesting article about 'What is different about mobile learning' (27 February 2012): "Although a mobile pedagogy will continue to evolve, we already know quite a bit about how people use mobile devices and some of the advantages of mobile learning"
    http://learningcircuits.blogspot.com/2012/02/whats-different-about-mobile-learning.html- guus guus Mar 1, 2012
  • This could change everything we know about learning and really put the students in the driver's seat of learning. As noted above, teachers will need support in making the transition.- holly.jobe holly.jobe Mar 3, 2012
  • Mobile devices will have capability to receive real time video streaming of subject content. Using this along side social media, makes for exciting learning opportunities across boarders.- sarietjie.musgrave sarietjie.musgrave Mar 4, 2012
  • They allow for increase in interaction, as students can easily use backchanneling while watching a lecture, and teachers can make use of this type of feedback. Students can also tap in to their wider community network to enrich class discussions. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012
  • We will see the emergence of new literacies, new forms of learning, new genres which will disrupt traditional ways of learning by K-12 learners- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Mar 4, 2012

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • From a content and teacher support perspective, BrainPOP is very active in this space. We are working with a host of mobile device partners - because the hardware creators are as hungry for content as are the teachers and students themselves. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Feb 29, 2012
  • I've visited a number of classrooms around the country that are using ipods, itouches, ipads, mobile phones in classrooms.- holly.jobe holly.jobe Mar 3, 2012
  • Many African examples - 100 000+ students take Maths, Sci quizes via cell phones at no cost. Our university busy with daily broadcast of subject content to schools - now starting to introduce real time video broadcast to cell phones and other mobile devices. - sarietjie.musgrave sarietjie.musgrave Mar 4, 2012
  • Teh Nokia Mobile Mathethematics project in South Africa appears to be one of the most scaleable, successful mobile learning projects in Africa in view of the numbers of learners involved and the sysetmic integration of math learning via mobile phones.- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Mar 4, 2012

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.