True Convergence!

450px-brueghel-tower-of-babel.jpg

Great article from the BBC today: ‘Tower of Babel’ technology nears. The article discusses Software Defined Radio (SDR), which is able to translate and understand any kind of radio wave signal, such as 3G or wi-fi. As a result,

wireless devices that previously understood only one or a few languages, or standards, will suddenly be able to talk to each other freely regardless of frequency or conflicting protocols.

According to the article, widespread implementation of SDR will happen in the next 5-10 years. More information on this technology can be found in Technology Review and wikipedia.

Imagine the potential implications for education with mobile, connected tools! This is the type of thing I’ve been looking for for a long time, as it means that we can REALLY take advantage of existing technology for teaching and learning. This is especially the case because SDR is software driven, while “currently, most devices rely on hardware, rather than software, to get at the information in radio signals.” What it could mean for teaching and learning:

  • No more worrying about tech budgets for schools, as students would be able to use their own devices, regardless of standard or protocol. And the fact that SDR is software-driven makes it even better (think upgrades, rather than replacements).
  • True anywhere, anytime computing (especially anywhere).
  • Collaboration across devices will be much easier, because it doesn’t matter if I have a smart phone and you have a handheld computer.
  • SDR should make it much easier for mobile devices to interact with other technology, increasing the opportunities for the use of context-aware computing, and digital overlays on top of a physical environment.

The possibilities are almost endless…

Image credit: Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Brueghel-tower-of-babel.jpg

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