Former Chairman and President of Sony Europe, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and now Chairman of Handheld Learning gazes into the crystal ball and considers his bet's on the new Apple iPhone.
Now here is one particular view of the world, perhaps controversial, but a different way of looking at the digital future.
I have read that the new iPhone has underwhelmed some reviewers States-side, due to lack of new WOW factors. 3G which make's it shine for web browsing is spotty in a US mobile laggard market.
Size of antenna precludes new on-line GPS mode from working as well in cars as dedicated in-car devices such as Tom Tom.
Some whimpers about voice mail and Bluetooth persist
But they are missing the point. Here's why:
the terms TV and PC will sound as outdated as "8 Track" tape decks within 2-3 years. Everything will be capable of delivery over Internet Protocol (IP). Live sports to big screens and everything else.
- the "receiver device" is as likely to be a wireless mobile device as a set top box. Personal files including purchase movies and all self generated photos, home video and text file folders will be stored remotely and accessed on demand to whatever screen or speaker, in home, on desk, on family room big screen, in car, in hand, that the user needs them to use. PC will no longer be a relevant term as all user interfaces will be interactive and capable of keyboard type input as well as voice recognition.
- in this new generation, (Web 3.0) there will be "contextual transparency". You will access the beginning of a video documentary on the breakfast table and then pick up where you left off when boarding the commuter train. The server will know and re purpose the content for screen size etc accordingly.
- The “server" will also know WHERE everybody is at all times because 500mm plus mobile phones will have GPS modules in them by 2011. “Location Aware Servers" will be the new frontier for targeting all kinds of adverts and helpful information.
- operating systems like Mac and Windows will give way to wireless based OS’ like Google's Android, Nokia's Symbian and Windows Mobile, but each of these solutions is struggling because they are "closed" architecture and, to some extent, walled garden minded.
- the new Apple iPhone will be a huge success outside the USA where 3G is better deployed and where "location aware server" GPS services are more advanced. Ability of new iPhone to download and stream video fast and to switch between Wi-Fi and GSM will catapult it ahead of Blackberry as the optimum pocket e-mail/browser solution.
- businesses will start to provide managers with iPhones, replacing Blackberries and PDA's. I am told that it takes less than 3 weeks to be weaned off Blackberry and onto iPhones, but have never heard of anyone going back to Black. Converts become the most outspoken evangelists.
- the iPhone OS is "open but structured API" (similar to the PlayStation as a platform) meaning that independent developers of all kinds of content, including a tsunami of games, will spring up, creating massively useful and fun applications which will cross over onto traditional screens on desks and walls.
- it is therefore not only possible, but likely, that iPhone OS will leapfrog any hope that Google has of making Android the solution of choice. It will have amazing tail wind.
- this also could mean that Apple becomes the Microsoft of the 21st Century. Microsoft has yet to ever succeed with a Windows operating system that is not backward compatible.
Taking all of the above into consideration, I would argue that there is no better time than now to invest in Apple stock and in companies that are far down the learning curve on "location aware servers".
Nokia and Symbian may be the other choice, but Apple has a cooler youth image and less "baggage".
Microsoft could pull it off by capturing the switch over technology between satellite, cable, DSL and mobile, (some very smart folks are predicting this). But Microsoft have made a LOT of enemies over the years, and Balmer is no Gates.
Google is also encountering some maturation pains and does not have so many fans of Android.
Of course, I could be very wrong. And something could happen to Steve Jobs. His health is far from perfect.
But Apple's lead on the right path is clear and substantial.
In my view, the future is theirs to lose. iPhone 2.0 success in Europe will be the acid test.
So far, this is looking 5 times better than even the wild enthusiasts were predicting a month ago. A new iPhone costs about the same "up front" as a Nintendo DS.
Fasten your seat belts.
About the author
A graduate of Boston College and Harvard Business School, Chris Deering's career in multinational business began at the Gillette Company and at McKinsey & Co where he specialised in fast moving consumer goods. His videogame experience began as Vice President - International Marketing at Atari in 1983.
In 1985, Deering moved to Sony’s Columbia Pictures Home Video located in New York and in Los Angeles where he served as Senior Vice President, and from 1990 as Chief Operations Officer, International. He departed Columbia after a decade, moving in 1995 to London to establish Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. As CEO Deering was responsible for the London-based Sony PlayStation Division for EMEA and Australasia, and is widely regarded as the "father of the European PlayStation"
Retiring from Sony In 2005, Chris has been awarded the Computer Games Industry Achievement Award from BAFTA, the 'Hall of Fame' from ELSPA and is also the Chairman of the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival.
In 2006 Chris joined Britsoft publisher Codemaster's Board of Management as non-executive Chairman to play an active role in the growth strategy for the company.
Chris has been Chairman and an active guiding hand of Handheld Learning since 2005. He will be chairing the "Game On!" session at this years Handheld Learning Conference.
(16) Leave a Comment
|The New Apple Core|
Graham July 15th, 2008 - 1:11 PM
Big Picture takes iPhone Beyond Web
If the App Store is building an ecosystem and allowing users to customise, the new MobileMe services - including remote backup and synchronisation of contacts, pictures, calendars and so on across multiple user devices, including Macs, iPhones and PCs - is Apple's first move into cloud computing.
Much like Microsoft's investment in its Mesh technology, Apple realises it is strategically placed to help consumers and smaller businesses start using the cloud.
Both firms are trying to take advantage of the crucial role of data synchronisation and their installed software presence on so many devices (Microsoft via Windows, Apple via iTunes) to outflank the totally web-centric advertising-centric approach to providing mass access to the cloud, on which Google is betting the farm.
It's early days, but Apple and Microsoft may turn out to be in a better position than Google - with Apple best-placed of all since it doesn't face anything like the same dilemma as the boys at Redmond over delivering cloud services that cannibalise existing software sales.
Any thoughts / comments???
|The New Apple Core|
wolfluecker July 15th, 2008 - 1:36 PM
Re: original post by Chris Deering:
Very interesting indeed. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. If I may, I'd like to add my (less experienced) views to this, and ask a few questions.
I think I pretty much fundamentally agree with points 1-5. It's obvious that the digital distribution channels of the future will transcend PC, TV, set-top box and phones as we know them. A timescale of 2-3 years sounds a bit short to me, considering that we've been hearing about 'device convergence' from the technology visionaries for at least 10 years now. And there are still plenty of TVs in people's homes.
Where I struggle is the progression of your argument to the 'humble' iPhone. It's a stunning device and has already played a big role in kicking the whole industry up the collective backside with its interface, screen, usability and the usual fantastic industrial design by Apple. The latest developments also raise the bar for distribution channels, with the iTunes AppStore. The sales of the 3G version this week speak for themselves!
But I don't quite believe it's an indication of advantage to Apple in the coming battles for mobile supremacy.
Its OS and great applications are tied to one physical product. This is Apple, and apart from a short period they have always kept hardware and software in their own hands. The only cross-platform software they released was iTunes, and they had to do that to sell as many iPods as they have. The Mac OS has always been superior in many ways but its market share is small. Sure, the 'iPod-effect' is considerable, and will earn them more 'cool' users, but since Apple are not allowing anybody to build similarly good products using their OS, their reach will always be limited.
The scenario of Apple being the MS of the 21st century would hence mean that we will all have Apple iPhones. No choice of device for the customer. Seeing at how many hundreds of different makes/shapes/sizes people on the streets carry, I assume they like to have a choice.
Here are some (genuine) questions:
- How does the fact that the iPhone will replace BlackBerries contribute to this new digital revolution? BlackBerries may have contributed hugely to business people using email on the move, but their devices are not mass-market either. And the BlackBerry is the "optimum browser solution"? With all respect, I don't agree.
- You say that "each of these solutions (Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian) is struggling because they are "closed" architecture and, to some extent, walled garden minded". I don't understand that. One of the attractions of Google's Android and Nokia's Symbian (and LiMO etc) for handset manufacturers is that those OSs are free now. Windows Mobile isn't, but neither is the iPhone OS - in fact, they can't have that one at all. Again, for the iPhone OS "to leapfrog Android" Apple also have to leapfrog plenty of hardware manufacturers, because you can only have the iPhone OS on an Apple iPhone. Am I missing the point?
- The iPhone SDK is a step in the right direction but it's again pretty proprietary (like PlayStation, I agree). There are already a plethora of applications, games etc for Symbian, WM, JavaME and others. What is the advantage of the iPhone there? Distribution channel I guess - the huge amount of downloads from the Apple AppStore in the first few days is quite staggering.
- I'm intrigued by your prediction that these applications "will cross over onto traditional screens on desks and walls" from the iPhone. I think this is sort of happening in mobile gaming/applications/services already, again: in your opinion, how will the iPhone make this transition quicker or better?
Sorry to go on, but your comments struck me as a bit 'Apple-centric', as opposed to 'Mobile-centric' (which is probably more where I come from).
PS: Yes, of course I'm going to get one!
|Re: The New Apple Core|
Graham July 16th, 2008 - 5:01 PM
PS: Yes, of course I'm going to get one!
|Re: The New Apple Core|
stu_mob July 23rd, 2008 - 2:30 PM
One OS to rule them all and in the darkness bind them...?
I agree broadly with Wolf's commentary on Chris's original post, which is an interesting read in itself.
Convergence is coming (at least I hope so as I run a consultancy in it but at the moment the big but older IT players e.g. Microsoft and Apple are still heavily reliant on their proprietary models. The Iphone is a great example of this and along with the iPod Touch and Windows OS range show that commercially it can work very, very well.
But along comes the next evolution of the Web, dominated for now by companies like Google. A very successful model of sometimes Open Source but most importantly APIs that allow 3rd Party integration with relative ease. Also, by using the browser as a delivery mechanism they get around the problem of having to adapt to different OSs (I know this is not always the case but I am writing about a broad principle). Google, of course, has also created a successful means of driving revenue from adverts rather than software sales.
But convergence is different. Anywhere, anytime, anyhow access is coming but it is not necessarily easy. A glance over the iPhone web development pages will tell anyone with a little bit of savvy that there is much to consider when delivering services to different platforms, despite the impression the adverts give.
At the moment we seem to be a little stuck in replication when it comes to convergence. A lot of companies seem to want to replicate their desktop experience on to mobile devices rather than exploiting the mobility of the systems themselves. However, this is not the strategy of the big players e.g. Amazon, Google etc.
The iPhone has probably given America the wake-up call it needed with regards to mobile phones. Now they have something decent, well designed with Internet access. It has challenged other providers and this is a good thing but if the iPhone becomes the de facto standard for the mobile experience then that is a dangerous place to be for everyone, including Apple.
My hope is that iPhone and other devices will help raise the awareness and expectation of the user and in so doing encourage greater creativity in device and software design and a better consideration of what mobility is about. We are already seeing mobile phones which are specialised for gym users and others for construction workers.
One size doesn't fit all, its what I find exciting about this field.
Bringing a final educational slant to this then the challenge for all of us is how do we respond? Because at the moment education is woefully slow at effectively dealing with technological change and at the moment the pace of change is such that we risk been left behind.
|Re: The New Apple Core|
Graham July 23rd, 2008 - 4:02 PM
Good points from Wolf and Stu but I'm becoming less confident in Google's "imminent domination" of the mobile web which has still yet to materialise.
Yes, I have an iPhone and yes I'm switching to the 3G version shortly and ok I'm a bit of a Mac fan too simply because the platform suits a lot of the work I have done for the past 15 years. But the iPhone OS with Safari and multitouch interface set a completely new benchmark for the mobile web leaving Google, Yahoo and the rest with a lot of catching up to do.
Where exactly is Android after such a fanfare?
Last I saw it was crawling in emulation mode under Windows Mobile on an HTC Tytn.
I think Chris' point was that Apple have been very smart and have taken a huge lead as a consequence recognising that voice telephony was no longer the killer app and that true location aware mobile computing was where it was at.
For our community this has brought a bit of a fillip.
Well, because earlier this year when netbooks, craptops and EEE PC's started to emerge it seemed that "Handheld Learning" might be somewhat of a legacy term from a time when PDA's were challenging laptops. Particularly when those who ought to know better retreated back into their comfort zone after getting gooey-eyed and nostalgic over qwerty keyboards! Very worrying, as Mike Sharples noted, when the UK is about to invest significantly in such devices:
http-blip.tv-scripts-flash-showplayer.swf-file-http-blip.tv-file-get-grahambm-professormikesharplesdirectorlsriuniversityofnottingham123.flv<-a><-noembed>what-happened-was-that-pda-.swf"http://www.apple.com/iphone/appstore/" target="_blank">App Store reveals a significant number of education related titles and this will grow fast given the relative ease of the iPhone development environment.
For the non-iPhone fans this is all good news anyway because as a disruptive technology it will send, as did the 1st gen iPhone, the rest of the manufacturers, software vendors and operating system creators (e.g. look at the "to be released at some point in the future" WinMob 7) back to the drawing board.
|Re: The New Apple Core|
stu_mob July 23rd, 2008 - 4:47 PM
So thinking about the UK specifically. Is the UK ready for the 'spend'? I am thinking that if we want to use ubiqutious technolgies in learning (irrespective of platform). How do we actually engage the educators - not the learners. The learning value will come when the key educator in a learners life teaches them how to use these devices for learning.
For a while now I have wanted the UK to go mainstream with this. Projects only tell us so much. It's going to be interesting when we see education (schools, colleges and univiersities) using a blend of technologies well to enhance and engage the learner within and without the halls of learning. But to do that will take a well educated (in terms of understanding the technology) and motivated set of educators. I know many are here on this forum already but do we have enough and is the UK really ready to make the investment to make this work?
|Re: The New Apple Core|
Graham July 23rd, 2008 - 5:09 PM
Good question Stu
Well, there's a pretty massive investment that will be "announced" before HHL 08 and then discussed by a senior government official in a Q + A, hopefully in the closing session (so no sloping off early ). The question is what types of mobility will this enable and will it be personal to the learner or shared within a family unit? Then, of course, we can live in hopes for MoLeNET 2.0 whose first phase has been largely been a success. Let's hope that investment is made available for that.
At some point the cost of data plans are going to go South when operators spot a 10 million person UK learner market that has recurring revenue. It has always struck me as odd that whilst the PC industry is falling over itself to make their technology inclusive the most inclusive technology of all, i.e. the mobile phone, has the majority of operators and handset manufacturers with a blind spot! No coincidence that it took a computer company turned consumer electronics company to shake them out of their stupor.
A pay-as-you-go iPhone sounds tempting and may well find its way into the Christmas stocking of more kids that one might think, much like the Nintendo DS, Wii and Sony PSP did last year. Then, when learners are bringing in their own kit, maybe it's about connectivity infrastructure and teacher training rather than buoying up legacy technology providers with public money?
|Re: The New Apple Core|
stu_mob July 23rd, 2008 - 5:28 PM
Graham, I've never sloped off early from HHL - always too good to miss a second! LOL - Seriously sounds interesting, hopefully it will be flexible spending and not just capital only because I think that's been the difficulty of MoleNet and I share your hopes about that.
I think the UK mobile data market needs a serious review by the service carriers and it's time that data carrying was seeing as part of the inclusive package. And to be fair that is the general trend but it is still over priced for what it offers in comparison to desktop broadband. That comparison is one the service carriers themselves invite in their marketing so I think a value check is well worth making.
I think the next stage is too look at what learners are using themselves. Also, I very much want to make the distinction between learners - who can be any age and 'kids'. I know the focus of many on this forum is schoolchildren but I think and want to encourage us to look broader. The UK faces some of its most serious economic challenges over the next few years. To meet them we need a workforce that can carry on learning and fitting that in into a very busy lifestyle. Mobiles could be invaluable for that!
But back to my point (I digress too much sorry!) If we really want personal learning then we need to see what and how the learner is engaged. Not everyone will take to mobile access and we need to move away from the idea and projects of 'lets give everyone one of these' (whatever it is) and start seeing what they are using and to think about why they are engaged and whether or not that engagement can be used in learning.
We've seen some huge mistakes made by education with regards to the PC and other IT use in classrooms. Too many organisations are now tied (no longer voluntarily) to one supplier. It's bad for creativity in learning and bad for the tax payer. Lets not make the same mistake in education with mobile learning.
Also, lets make sure that supplier models fit learners and educators needs and not the other way round!.
I agree we need to invest in training for education providers and also we need to make sure that those who cannot afford and for whom the technology is unsuitable are not left behind.
|The New Apple Core|
satonner July 24th, 2008 - 6:51 PM
Well Chris, I have to say it looks like the iPhone triggered many exciting thoughts about how it will change the way we work, learn and communicate. As others have mentioned above, it will also pave the way for many other companies to create devices that enable users to fully interact with one device as in the words of the old Martini advert 'anytime, anyplace, anywhere'.
What excites me most when I watched the 3G iPhone video, having tried for the past two years to incorporate children's mobile devices into the primary learning environment, is the huge potential to use this device with children to enhance the learning environment. Too often children need to wait their turn to use the computer suite, school library visit or their allocated slot of laptops. Too often a question is placed to the side as the answer will have to wait until we can access the technology. Too often tasks are laborious because pen and paper take longer when creating the final product where editing is less time consuming using technology. Too often collaborative work is sketchy whilst children wait for others to contribute whereas the collaborative tools in the Internet enable immediate collaboration. Too often exchanges with other schools become stagnant as the children wait their weekly turn at the computers. Too often learning is contained within the classroom walls where sharing with the world is not an option.
Children want 'active' learning that is immediate reflecting how they learn at home or outside school. As much as I tried to create an environment that reflected the children's outside school life through using many Web 2.0 tools and teaching the children to use their own mobile devices to they full potentials rather than talk and text, the constraints of not impinging on the children's mobile usage cost restricted what I could do.
Now this may change if I schools were to purchase iPhones OR iTouch for children which became their personal learning devices. Now that the device is no longer contained within 'apple' in the sense that opensource software is now available on the device, I am sure there will be many creative people who will now develop software for education. It would then be the teachers who would teach children how to use their devices educationally as we currently do with PCs and pen and paper. It is not just a matter of giving out the devices and 'leaving the children to it' as many believe the children are more capable than the adults. Many children can use these devices, just like they can use pencil and paper, however, it is through an excellent teacher/facilitator that they can be guided to learn new skills and knowledge.
When will this all become a reality in today's education? Maybe not at the present, however, hopefully in the near future where I hope I can begin to instill the confidence in new student teachers to embrace this new technology as I prepare out future primary teachers for a 21st Century Education at my current post as Teaching Fellow in Primary Education (ICT) at the University of Dundee.
|Re: The New Apple Core|
stu_mob July 25th, 2008 - 3:27 PM
Hi Satonner - now can I pick up on one of your points re "personal learning devices"? and ask should the learning device be separate from other personal digital devices.
I take a very broad view of education and my professional focus tends to be on the post-16 and HE sectors, although I have worked with the pre16 sector and I would accept that the strategy for one sector of education would not necessarily be suitable for all.
However, given that the majority of digital devices that learners already have with them have much that something like the iPhone could offer, would bulk purchasing and the consequential imposition of a specific hardware solution on learner be a 'good spend' of public money?
Increasingly I think not since we know the power is out there so isn't time we really looked at how to use it and actually adapt m-learning to personalisation? i.e. using what the learner brings to the table and finding out where they are engaged.
If we use what the student has and is already engaged with then we free up meager funds to help those who genuinely don't have. Also we free up funds to help training for educators, which is desperately needed if we are ever to move out 'project land'.
|Re: The New Apple Core|
satonner July 25th, 2008 - 5:19 PM
interesting question and rightly so. When I started using mobiles, that the children already had, in my classroom, many were not using them to their full potentials as they were quite happy with text and talk and some pictures. So personalisation of learning is not always what we expect where we presume if a child has a particular device they will be able to do a variety of outcomes.
The other downside to using a child's own device is the difference in what they have and what their devices can do, how memory they have etc... This can limit children with 'passed down' devices.
As an educationalists, I would not expect children to buy their own paper, pencils, textbooks, PE equipment, musical instruments, PCs etc, therefore I would not expect children to buy a device that I believe is going to enhance their learning process. If a device is bought for all then teachers and children are effectively singing from the same hymn sheet.
I hope this answers why i would want all to have the same as I believe it is not breaking the bank, look at how much money is wasted at the moment on ICT equipment that sits in cupboards!!!
Fire back anymore questions as it helps me clarify or change my thoughts.
|Re: The New Apple Core|
stu_mob July 26th, 2008 - 11:01 AM
This is a good discussion to have I don't think there is ever going to be one coherent view because different educationalists work with different learners who are varying ages and backgrounds etc.. The discussion is still really worthwhile though because we get to start thinking about why we make the decisions we do.
Clearly from you posts your experience is with child learners. My contact is generally with older learners, extending well into Adult Learning. In Higher Education, for example, learners will be pretty much expected to provide everything - notepads, books and pens. Where equipment is centrally provided it is rarely done so on an individual basis. So for example there are PC clusters in libraries etc. Many HE learners will also provide their own computer equipment and connectivity.
So that's a clear difference with your experience of teaching children. But I have met teachers of children in situations where pupils will provide their own pens and notebooks. So it's not a consistent experience.
If learners and teachers have one device then I would agree they are "effectively singing from the same hymn sheet" but then I would argue that cannot be personalisation. If everyone does everything the same way then it cannot be personal.
I agree about "ICT equipment that sits in cupboards" and I think there are lots of reasons behind it, not least of which that educators have often not received the training they need to make the best use of equipment in their own context. However, I think we run the same risk with mass supply of the same devices. It will only take a few educators to have a 'bad experience' for the gear to be consigned to store cupboard.
However I disagree about the cost not 'breaking the bank' point because we now run the risk of replicating what the learner already has access too and ending up in a position where our finances are spread too thin. One classrooms worth of kit may not seem massively expensive but on a national basis and given the rapid redundancy of small digital devices it would require a very large rolling commitment on behalf the UK Taxpayer and given that very little large scale funding in education lasts forever - is that realistic?
From my perspective it would be a better spend of money to now add to educators skill sets so they can learn how to spot useful learning applications for these devices in a personalised learning agenda.
It's good discussion and helping gather thoughts I have left lingering for too long.
|The New Apple Core|
satonner July 28th, 2008 - 8:19 PM
this is a difficult one regarding using what the children have of providing them with the tools. Although I mentioned I the aspect about buying equipment this comes from actually teaching in a private school for seven years where the children were required to buy their books, pencils etc. Knowing this is not hte norm in state education I want to look at the scenario for the mass rather than the elite.
Whilst introducing how to use mobile phones as educational tools to the chidlren, during my HMIe inspection, I found that even in a fee paying school there are still children without mobiles, some with very old mobiles that my gran uses and some with the latest all singing and dancing. A child in primary 1 had an iPhone!!! Now not sure if I was the cause after showing all children my one!!!
That point is, children with money and children without can still be disadvantaged in the tools they have due to what their parents' view as appropriate for them. So that means, if wee Johnny has the latest 3G iPhone and Betty has a basic Motorola then Betty will not be able to access enquiry web based learning whilst Johnny can because he has the correct tools for the jobs. To me that is not equality in Education. All children should have the same opportunities prior to the individualisation stage. If they are all 'singing form the same hymn sheet' then this means they all have the same tool but can create a different output. For example, Betty might prefer creating a podcast of her findings whilst Johnny may use his images and text to create a PowerPoint.
It is a bit like music, you teach children to read music, play music and compose music with the same tools and instruction. At the end of the day the children then play the pieces they prefer in different styles and different levels of ability. They also, create their own music in their own style or in collaboration with others. At the end of the day, they were all taught by the same person, same tools but their individual abilities and preferences dictate what and how they develop their musical style.
Teaching children is like this, you still need to give the all the same teaching and the best tools available then the individualisation is possible.
My new remit is teaching student primary teachers to use technologies with chidlren. I hope that I will be able to introduce handheld learnign to them so they can reap the benefits of learning anytime, anyplace, anywhere and then develop this further with their pupils.
Back to your point regarding cost, yes it does cost a lot of money to equip a class, school, local authority... Smartboards cost a lot of money and were placed in schools as the future of teaching. Some teachers use them as true interactive whiteboards, some use them as a glorified electronic display and some place a bookshelf in front of them!!! I have been to schools where every class were given them and not all used and I have worked in a school where they were phased in to a different year group each year with the teachers being trained prior to obtaining the board. Giving the right training these tools are effective, however, placed in a room and told to use can cause misery to many.
handheld learning will only work if phased in, all the same tools for each child and teachers are trainned prior to using.
Get back to me Stu and we will continue this conversation - very interesting!!!
|Re: The New Apple Core|
stu_mob July 29th, 2008 - 7:12 PM
We are trying to tease a lot of threads out of a tangled ball of wool here!
I realise you are school teacher and so your responses are going to be in that context but I really do need to emphasise again that education is not just children and so I take a very broad view. My own experience is in delivering national services and in that respect what device is being used is largely irrelevant because there is no way that every student in the UK is going be using the same piece of kit. This is for all sorts of reasons.
So to deal with that issue I set baselines of what the technology needs to be capable of. By a baseline I mean for example a mobile device with web browser and 2G connectivity with 1GB of memory etc..
The problem with your model is that it does deny personalisation. Giving every learner an iPhone (or whatever) would be the same as giving every music student a Trombone. After all every Trombone player will develop their own style and play different types of music - so there is individualisation but they are still all playing the trombone.
I disagree with your closing point about giving "all the same tools for each child and teachers are trained prior to using", for me this would be the end of personalisation in mobile learning, since it really would be everyone playing the trombone (how far am I going to push this metaphor .
In fact handheld devices have been phased in. The various conferences and programmers in Schools, Post-16 and HE have all had projects on varying scales looking at the impact of these devices. The problem as I see it is that Education as a sector is scared to take the next step and leave behind the project infrastructure.
If we accept that we all (and I really do mean everyone here) have different learning styles then we need to let learners find the technology that suits them. This means that for some learners no digital technology will suffice and for others they will need little if any contact with a single educator, whilst for others they will need it everyday. This is personalisation. Giving every child a mobile phone or laptop isn't.
The idea of every learner with the same device speaks to me of everyone in rows of desks. I accept your point about each learner focusing on a different aspect of the device's capabilities to enhance their learning but that is also true of learners in rows of desks, some will always answer the questions verbally, some by writing answers, some by book learning, others by board and so on.
Economically, I don't believe that your model is sustainable at the moment. Technology is changing at a cracking pace. By the time contracts are negotiated and in place, whatever is chosen on a large scale will be out-of-date.
It is unlikely we will end up with a consensus and viva la difference! After all mobile learning is still too new for anyone to say this is 'how it must be done'.
There is a middle way though and I experimented with this on the two MoleNet projects I was consultant to (Stockport and Trafford Colleges). MoleNet was a capital spend, so it had to provide hardware. This was duly done but we did not buy just one piece of kit but a variety of devices. Harder to manage but we ended up with a technological landscape that more closely reflected our day-to-day reality.
The key to its success was the baseline I wrote about earlier. As I explained services I design are developed with a baseline in mind. So I knew that so long as the devices met that baseline the services would work in the project.
Its another project but it shows that you can have variety in terms of device access but consistency in service delivery.
We remain in full agreement about the need for training. However, the real focus of this training should be to encourage educators to look beyond the technology and to start applying the pedagogy.
Let's see where we go next Sharon
|The New Apple Core|
satonner August 5th, 2008 - 10:15 PM
although I did teach children I now teach adults to teach children so I am getting the best of both worlds now. I am aware education is not just school, college, uni etc but life. There are a lot of points in the above and we could go around in circles so let's just take one thread from the ball of wool and see if wee can knit anything from it.
The device could be the first or if your want a different route then just say as I'll happily come back and discuss with you.
Alright i did say the iPhone would be great and it really is because it is a super tool at the moment with many features that can be used for educational purposes. With just looking at the icon here are my views:
Calendar - obvous what you can do with this but a teacher could sync school work and assigments to all by sharing calanders.
Calculator - now the scientific options are available it makes it more suited for older users too.
Camera - photos can be emailed to people or online accounts free of charge through the Internet service.
Maps - now the GPS is available this is a valable tool for mapping skills.
Notes - speaks for itself
Photos - evidence of work
Facebook - class network
Ipod - music & videos
Additional tools - SpeakEasy - voice recorder/ Suduko/ Games machine/ AIM
Internet - using wireless facility
The above is not conclusive as there are lots more applications being made for educational purposes. Is there another device out there that matches this? If not I am sure there will be in the near future therefore providing healthy competition.
So Stu, with all the above to enhance learning and the choice is between a small computer suite, a class of laptops or a large propotion of users with their own handheld learning device I would select the later and keep them the same so that everyone has the same opportunities.
Tell what you think.
|Re: The New Apple Core|
stu_mob August 6th, 2008 - 5:47 PM
With regards to alternatives to the Iphone that you have listed. With the exception of Wifi connectivity pretty much any recent mobile phone E.g The LG Viewty range up, Sony Ericsson Walkman range, the new Samsungs, Windows mobile range, the Nokia N series etc. etc..
With Wifi - Nokia high-end range the high spec Sony Ericsson, HTC range etc.. I could go on. It's a long list but I will give the Iphone the credit of having the best marketing.
I am not anti-Iphone (Mac aficionado generally) but I fundamentally do not believe you can have personalisation and device harmonisation. It's contradictory position. Also, I have deep concerns about British education being trapped with one supplier. The Iphone is particularly dangerous because of it being tied to one connectivity supplier.
My baseline model mentioned in my last post works. I achieved that in my work on the Molenet projects I was involved in. So you can have flexibility in device choice.
Sharon, I respect your views but I doubt we are going to reach a consensus. The same devices do not offer the same opportunities. A device does not a successful learner make and for some learners digital technology maybe exactly the barrier they do not need.
I will end reiterating one of my earlier points - no one knows where this is going to end-up. The use of mobile digital devices for learning in formal education is only just beginning, it would be dangerous to say this is the model we must use and discussions such as ours are useful for progressing the theory and just as with all learning there will probably never be a 'single view'. With us, I can see a disagreement in philosophy which affects our advice for pragmatic adoption.
Its a discussion I've enjoyed and maybe we can pick up with a pint at HHL later this year? and see where we've both got to by then.