Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘mobile

I would expect a headline like Are Touchscreens Melting Your Kid’s Brain? to originate from the local press. But I found this on Wired.

The quote that disturbed me the most was:

the ever-present touchscreens make me incredibly uneasy—probably because they make parenting so easy. There is always one at hand to make restaurants and long drives and air travel much more pleasant. The tablet is the new pacifier.

I think the author and I have different views on what it means to parent.

Leaving a child to play with or watch a video with a mobile device is not parenting. It is not even passive parenting. At best it is nannying.

Parenting is helping the child manage the use of mobile technologies. It is setting and maintaining rules. It is about knowing when to say yes and no as well as articulating why.

The harm is not in the mobile or touchscreen device. It is in parents or adults who do not manage its use.

Video source

This week I share why I like the Asus Pocket Router.

The device is deceptively small and looks like a thumb drive. This USB dongle is an ethernet adaptor, wifi adaptor, and an Internet signal sharing device all rolled into one.

Asus has not sponsored the device or prompted this blog entry. It has proven its utility when I have to travel or give talks at institutes other than my own, so I thought I should share the joy.

My reaction to this TechCrunch article, Twitter Rolls Out New Web Design That Aligns With Mobile Interfaces, was “Meh!”

This was news I would care about if I used the Twitter web interface to tweet.

I do not. I use mobile apps. I use the TweetDeck Chrome app.

I have no real need to visit except to try to set up two-factor authentication or tweak some setting that only exists there. The mobile apps are more convenient and TweetDeck provides a superior experience, e.g., multiple and customized tweet streams.

This is probably one of the few examples where the mobile or other non-direct web experience is better than the original web experience.

I hope that we will see more examples like this, particularly in education. I imagine being able to offer a MOOC-like course that is entirely mobile-enabled, not just mobile-friendly. I would like to see entire administrative systems go paper-free with mobile applications that are not dumbed down versions of web tools.

Then I would not go “Meh!”

I would not even go “Ooh!” because the technology would be so simple and transparent instead of being so in-your-face.

The thing that irritates me the most about “mobile learning” is not questions about how m-learning is different from e-learning.

I would rather focus on what both words have in common: learning. The focus should be on how learners learn.

We should not focus on how we want to teach regardless of how learners learn. That is what irritates me the most about how some m-learning is designed.

It is not enough to make content even more bite-sized for consumption on mobile devices. The mobile devices have cameras, microphones, on-screen keyboards, and screens for drawing, marking, and annotating.

What are we designing so that learners create? How do we get them to learn by doing something more than passive consumption?

Don’t get me wrong. Wonderfully designed and skillfully chunked content will go a long way in keeping eyeballs on the screen. But how are we getting the learner to learn by doing, acting, recording, sharing, creating, critiquing, etc.? These are examples of actual mobile learning because you can see evidence of learning.

The other kind is passive consumption. How do we know they are actually learning? And if we do not know, let us not call it m-learning!

Screen time by erase, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  erase 

The American Academy of Pediatrics probably had the interests of kids in mind when they recommended that parents limit the amount of mobile screen time.

The policy is aimed at all kids, including those who use smartphones, computers and other Internet-connected devices. It expands the academy’s longstanding recommendations on banning televisions from children’s and teens’ bedrooms and limiting entertainment screen time to no more than two hours daily.

Under the new policy, those two hours include using the Internet for entertainment, including Facebook, Twitter, TV and movies; online homework is an exception.

But I wonder if they also have recommendations on limitations on TV watching and homework (both the necessary and unnecessary kind).

Did similar associations, if they existed the era of landline phones, Walkmans, and wireless radios, recommend kids not talk so much, rock out too often, or listen too much?

If I am to get snarky about the recommendation, I might add that I am relieved that the two hour limit does not include online homework. After all, some of the homework might actually be flipped and kids need to process content for class.

But heaven forbid that the homework be fun, entertaining, or leverage on collaboration via social media. Those things might just fall under the harmful and time-wasting category of activities.

I am not worried that there actually is a recommended two-hour “dose”. Reasonable parents will realize they need to parent and set limits that they determine with their kids. I am worried that other parents will take the two-hour limit as gospel truth.

Slideshare source

I tweeted this SlideShare last week.

It is a resource that lives up to its name: 21 inspiring quotes and thoughts on mobile learning. Quite a few people retweeted and favourited it.

I enjoyed slide 12.


What Geoff Stead called “stolen moments” I have labelled “interstitial time” [1] [2]. Both are moments of relatively unproductive time (or time in between important events) used to do productive or important things.

If there is anything that makes mobile learning stand out from e-learning or other formalized online learning, it would be that mobile learning breaches the informal learning time and space.

I think this is important because research indicates that we learn from informal contexts 80% of the time. We put so much time, effort, and money into the formal 20%. Why are we not focusing on the 80%?

Video source

Today I share a longer than usual interview with Kevin of CoursePad.

Kevin’s other mobile solutions have been used at conferences and by corporations and tuition centres. He would break into schools if they were less risk averse (about the 4min 30sec mark).

If you missed the other interviews of folks I call edupreneurs, here are the links:

WHAT they have to say about their products or services is not nearly as important as WHY they do what they do. Three out of four of the folks I interviewed cited family.

Later this week I hope to share my own short story of what drives me.

Click to see all the nominees!

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