Connecting dots of digital learning

5 Predictions on Mobile Learning

Mobile is what’s happening.  TechCrunch alerted to us in Web 3.0: The Mobile Era:

Here’s a quick review for the technology waves over the last roughly 20 years.  Web 1.0 was about web connectivity, the giants of that epoch catalyzed by Netscape were companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Google. Web 2.0 was social, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, Twitter, and newcomer Quora as the foundational creators of the web’s ‘social layer.’  The power and impact of the social layer is difficult to overstate—existing industries and corporate giants (to say nothing of several repressive governmental regimes) have faced huge disruption on the basis of these companies.

Now we’re entering Web 3.0, which is mobile, and we are in the thick of it.  The Mobile Web 3.0 has elements that build upon prior eras, but it also has several distinct and different elements from what’s come before.  Some of these distinct elements of the Mobile Web 3.0 era include:

  • real-time
  • ubiquitous (always connected, always with you)
  • location aware
  • sensors
  • tailored, smaller screen
  • high quality camera and audio

JISC Digital Infrastructure Team just published 5 Predictions on Mobile technology and the future of Higher Education. As mobile learning is emerging on the horizon of learning industry so that we can’t ignore its impact. Let’s discover the hints and interesting thoughts from this article.

Mobile technologies are a bridge between our online social connections, the hallmark of recent web innovations such as Facebook, twitter etc, and our physical, real-world social interactions. Institutions increasingly recognise mobile as an extension of the journey from online social connectivity to real-world reciprocity. This transformation provides opportunities for institutions to engage with their students in significant new ways, and to exploit mobile technologies to enhance this engagement and experience.

So, with these thoughts in mind I thought I would have some fun and think about 5 ‘trends’ around the future of mobile in academia and education. These thoughts are very much rough-drafts, and shipped far too early!

mobile-learning 5 predictions

The 5 predictions on mobile learning are about:

Mobile as a Platform

For institutions mobile ‘products’ are often the focus of attention – the campus app or the mobile website. Yet, these discrete developments feel increasingly like a means to something greater – stepping stones – rather than as ends in themselves.

Mobile Realities

The mobile devices that we have upon us will, increasingly, also be the filters through which we view reality. Augmented Reality (AR) will be the next transformative technology to change the way in which we interact with the world, and our institutions.

Mobile Forms

The history of our recent technologies is one of carefully repackaging the artifacts of our lives in smaller and smaller boxes. The zenith of this miniaturisation is mobile computing. Increasingly, however, these boxes are being unpacked, and the technologies of mobile computing are being reconfigured in new forms.

The emergence of Augmented Reality as a serious mobile trend for education also marks the growing intimacy between the device and our bodies. The augmentation of realities will be mirrored with a augmentation between the device and the body. Increasingly the ‘form-factors’ we are used to (the mobile phone, tablet) will gradually be superseded by new forms: earpieces, glasses and sensors.

Mobile Scales

There are huge opportunities for scale when it comes to educational technologies and mobile learning initiatives: the worldwide demand for education is growing exponentially. Yet, mobile offers an intriguing opportunity for institutions to scale downwards; effectively scaling down to the singular – to the individual level of experience.

Imagine an institutional information service that is scaled to you – not the institution. Echoing Paul Walk’s futuristic vision of library services this might place the mobile device in the role of ‘educational concierge’, delivering relevant information and resources, wherever and whenever.

Mobile Disconnections

Mobile technologies, given their ubiquity, encourage a focus on the opportunities for constant connectivity that they offer. An academic world always on. However, it is clear that there will be an increasing need for spaces, places and strategies that enable students and staff to go ‘dark’. As institutions attend to enabling wifi everywhere, there may be an increasing requirement for wifi ‘coldspots’.

Digital learning will become very different with what mobile technologies can add onto it, or even re-invent it. And I am sure learning will become more playful and engaging.

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