Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Goodbye cellphone

With over 100% penetration in many countries and 4.6 billion subscribers worldwide the cellphone has become more than just a communication device. I remember in the early nineties hearing friends scoffing at the idea of owning one at all and the idea that everyone in the country would own at least one would have been dismissed as wild fantasy. Losing your cellphone today is for many people worse than losing your wallet.

However the role of the cellphone has already changed radically. It is no longer primarily a device for voice communication. We still use terms like cellphone and mobile phone but will soon have to change our vocabulary. According to an article from The Guardian, A new first in mobile,  mobile devices are now used more for data than for voice. We're using them to check websites, socialising on Facebook and Twitter, watching videos, taking and sharing photos and films and so on. The telephone function has officially been relegated to accessory. We can see this trend most clearly amongst teenagers where phone calls are few and far between and texting and instant messaging dominate. As George Siemens comments on his blog elearnspace:

"I would rather give up the call functionality of my phone than data/app functionality. My voice time is rather limited – I spend my time looking at my phone, rather than talking into it."

The moral of all this for education? It's time to revise our views on the use of mobile devices in school. It's time to take them out of quarantine and see them as the students' device of choice for net access. Instead of saying "take out your books and turn to page 54" we should be saying "switch on your mobiles and check this link."

1 comment:

  1. Mycket intressant artikel och JA det stämmer även på mig. Jag surfar, läser e-böcker och kollar mailen kanske 95% av mobilanvändningstiden.