Monday, March 09, 2009

Learn mobile, learn!

I’ve been reading John Traxler’s piece on mobile learning. Becta describes these articles on emerging technologies as research reports, but they are not. Should we leave them to their own devices is really a thought-provoking essay that recycles some ideas and develops others. A strong feature of Traxler’s paper is the wristwatch analogy. But the comparison of the wristwatch with newer portable digital devices also highlights a weakness in the argument. A watch is essentially a portable information device which is of course very useful in co-ordinating our social interactions; on the other hand a mobile phone develops this by adding one-to-one communication, and now many-to-many communication, again very useful in co-ordinating and enacting social interactions. But is the mobile a learning device? Is the watch a learning device? I think Traxler confuses information and communication with learning. Of course learning arises out of communication; but it is not the same thing as communication. Similarly knowledge cannot simply be described as content. So, the real issue continues to be one of how digital communication can be utilised to develop learning. Mobile or static, we need a pedagogy that includes the digital or else we are just grasping at straws