Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Is the future mobile? - JISC Online 2010

This session by Graham Martin-Brown certainly seem to spark a lot of debate. I wasn't able to attend live but tuned in the following day.

By his own admission Graham isn't a practitioner or an academic - he was giving his take on the world of mobile.

He thinks PCs are dead, laptops are on their way and the phone call is dead. Not sure I agree with the last one myself as I do like a good chat on the phone with my mum and my best mate. However....

He showed that Internet trends are all about mobile web and not about desktop web. The Smartphone market is growing rapidly. The mobile app economy as disrupted the software industry forever - there is so much stuff out there that is available for download very cheaply or even free. Also now anyone can produce software apps. Looking at the iPhone market he showed that only 7% of apps are categorised as education. Apps for learning check out or

He argued that there has been little evidence of improved learning outcomes just from using technology. He said that the following technology is to support teaching not learning:
  • Interactive whiteboards - you can still do death by PowerPoint
  • VLE
  • Learning platforms - they become teaching platforms
  • edu software - described as boring

These, he argued, maintain the practice of the 19C rather than moving us forward into the 21C

He had lots to say about Elluminate, the very software we were using to listen to his talk. He said there is a step learning curve, it's ugly and there is no support for modern apps

He talked about disruptive technology, technology that changes our normal way of doing things - used the iPad as an example.

It is more useful to teach kids how to create a blog post in Wordpress than how to use Microsoft Word

He had good things to say about MoLeNET as examples of positive ways mobile technology is being used.

So the question "is the future mobile"?

  • it's already here
  • the m in m-learning stands for mainstream
  • everything is shifting to mobile
  • it's not about supporting existing practice
  • resistance is futile

Finally e-learning doesn't mean we need less teachers but we need a different range of teachers with different skills. Having technology is not enough, we need to think about how we use it

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