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 a myriad of 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?

  • mobiles are becoming the communication and information tool; kids are used to it and should be used for knoweldge transfer and learning - Christian.Guetl Christian.Guetl Aug 9, 2012
  • Mobile phones have played a catalytic role in the social movements that arose in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. Arab Spring ranks among the most significant informal mobile learning phenomena in 2011. Thousands of youth used social media accessed via their mobile phones as a space for self-identification, self-assertion, and mobilization. Young people in the region are fully prepared to access their formal learning content via their mobile phones. However, existing technology enabled education policies in the region rarely address mobile learning.
    - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Aug 19, 2012
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Smartphones offer functionalities missing in desktop computers or laptops, e.g., GPS, tactile screen, accelerometer and gyroscope. These new features open a new range of ways of learning, specially related to out-of-the-classroom learning. - Sergio Sergio Jul 22, 2012
  • Building on the previous point, researchers in the technology-enhanced learning (TEL) field have been studying, since 2006, on a new learning model, "seamless learning", best to be mediated by the setting of one-mobile-device-per-student with 24x7 access. Seamless learning is when a person experiences a continuity of learning across a combination of locations, times, technologies or social settings. It aims to integrate or bridge individual learners' learning experiences in, for example, formal and informal learning settings, personal and social learning spaces, and physical and digital realms, etc. This is what the mobile technology can facilitate and support individual learners in achieving holistic and lifelong learning. Some translation and scaling up efforts have been taking place in various parts of the world to bring this learning notion from clinical studies to genuine practice. In a long run, it has the potential to impact policy. - Lung.Wong Lung.Wong Aug 3, 2012 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Aug 19, 2012

  • Not only smartphones and tablets, portable game machines like Nintendo 3DS are also used. Target people are not only youngsters, but also adults and aged.- Akinori.Nishihara Akinori.Nishihara Aug 19, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • have access everywhere andytime; for training math, consume small learning expereinces on the bus, etc - Christian.Guetl Christian.Guetl Aug 9, 2012
  • With the availability of relatively cheap smart phones, every young person can have access to quality mobile education 24/7.
    - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Aug 19, 2012
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

Please share information about related projects via our NMC Horizon Report project submission form.