Mobile Learning

Today is a big day.

I sent an email to the main groups on campus, announcing a time to gather together to discuss the ramifications of this this new media on the process of learning.

The problem is that I’ve drunk the coolaid.

I really believe that as much as personal computing has changed our world, as much as the networking of digital devices have changed our lives, mobile, hyper-personal networked devices are going to to bring us around to a post Gutenberg scenario that no one can imagine. This time around we have the legal definitions of creative commons licenses combined with the culture and technology of a Wikipedia generation. But now all that is in your pocket.

As my mentor Kurt Squire has said, “What are you going to do when every student has a broadband connection of their own?” Its a valid question. Education is more than a process of curation. The postmodern theories and constructionist philosophies of the last 50 years are being proven through instantiation. Folks call it web 2.0, participatory media and many other things. The bottom line is that we are gaining the ability to communicate and interact with each other in ways beyond our imagination. All of a sudden we have the tools to enable democracy in an order of magnitude beyond what even Dewey ever dreamed.

At the same moment, 8th grade math failures are being elected the king of hundreds of human players in massively multilayer videogames played online. Socially awkward teenagers are writing the guts of the next 200 million dollar screenplays of angsty vampire and British magician tales.

The world has turned upside down and we are all humbled before one another in a wold of distributed expertise and relevance. Our qualifications are not evaluated in terms of qualification or diploma but practical value. Phds are purchased over paypal by $50 ads found on the back of wired magazine for $200, but an invitation to speak at TED about what you have actually done is priceless.

As these epistomologies mate with new medias and technologies, fascinating things emerge in many areas of our society. For the time being, I’m excited to be part of the next generation of dreamers that are looking forward to how we can enable kids to overcome the oppression they are living under and embrace the a passion to learn and grow in the areas that make them unique. I pray that not a single student will ever have to hear that they are stupid because they are smart enough to see that school is irreverent and aims to steal their individuality.

Informal, Situated, Embodied, Personal. These are the concepts that lie underneath the mobile learning revolution. I’m looking forward to see how through new medias we can re-address the old topics and dream again about what we would like our world to look like.

My vote is on an educational system where teachers and students alike are humbled before their domains, encountering each other in authentic experiences and practical inquiries into what makes our world so fantastic.

Its a bold wish I know, but hey, we have to start with a vision.

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