HomeEDUCAUSEMobile Devices: Paradigm Shift or Just Another Content Delivery Mechanism?


Mobile Devices: Paradigm Shift or Just Another Content Delivery Mechanism? — 4 Comments

  1. Ben, your question is hardly fair. New content delivery mechanisms always have the potential to become game changers.

    Personally, I consider smart phone technology to be the hardware equivalent of instant messaging software, “with additional benefits”. Remember back in the day when ICQ was all the rage? (I still remember my wife’s and my 7-digit ID numbers.) The ability to converse with people over the Internet in real time added to the expectation level that led us to become a microwave society.

    Now we have computer-based telephony to add voice and video calling to the original concept of instant messaging. The smart phone adds to this a sense of location awareness, so in addition to being able to communicate in real-time almost anywhere, you can find out additional information in your general vicinity.

    Multimedia rich devices like the Apple iPad or the BlackBerry PlayBook will kill one-trick-ponies like the Kindle, Kobo, and Nook. Just look at the iPad app for Bloomberg Business Week: In addition to reading the articles, you now have up-to-the-minute access to statistics, stock listings, biographies, etc….

    I’d be interested in contract opportunities to develop new ways to harness rich media into mobile devices. Come find me at the STC Summit 2011 in Sacramento and we can talk about this further.

    • Hi Tony,
      I never said the question was fair. I posed it that way to try to engender some discussion! (You’re the first one to respond.)

      Bear in mind that this blog entry is framed in the context of a larger discussion occurring in the EDUCAUSE Mobile Sprint. One struggle as an educator is trying to figure out how to take advantage of the capabilities and whether they demand new types of instruction.

      Look forward to seeing you at Summit.

  2. Ben –
    Education has, and always will be, about great teachers! I’m excited about the potential new technology has to allow teachers to inspire young people’s learning. I see you’re a hater of PowerPoint but, I like the idea that a teacher could seamlessly slip customized material into a textbook that is of particular interest in a region, or to an educator or specific class. However, without the commitment from a particular educator, new technology provides just another way for a teacher to sit back and let the technology do their job. Textbooks can be more easliy updated and revised but that creates one of the hurdles to be overcome that is similar to what we’ve seen in the newspaper industry . . . how do textbook publishers stay profitable in digital format? I believe that in itself will stall the widespread adoption of more flexible technology.

    • Hi Laurie!
      Many of the textbook publishers now have digital editions that they “sell” for a limited period of time (~one year) to students for about 50% of the cover price. The book I use for my Effective Technical Communication class includes a website with interactive exercises, quizzes, instructor notes, and the like. We’re also seeing a number of instructors put together customized textbooks (like you mentioned above.)

      I had the opportunity to teach cyber safety to a group of K-12 teachers and resource personnel from upstate New York. Many of them are still struggling to keep up with the changes in technology, much less incorporate mobile devices into their curriculum.

      I’m not so much a hater of PowerPoint. I just don’t like over-reliance on it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.