Category Archives: Communication

Carnival of the Mobilists #104

The last Carnival for this year can be found at the About Mobility blog. Lots of interesting posts to finish out the year, including items on Google Maps, mobile web, and the question whether one mobile phone is enough. Some predictions for 2008 can be found as well. We’ll see how many of them will come true … See you in 2008!

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Carnival of the Mobilists #103 Is Out

This week’s Carnival of the Mobilists, hosted by Judy Breck at Golden Swamp, is the next to last Carnival for 2007. Lots of goodies this week too, including more info on Amazon’s Kindle (which I’m still skeptic about, I mean, who would pay $400 for a greyscale device these days which, even though it is wireless, doesn’t seem to have full Internet browsing capabilities?), Google Maps for Mobile, and my favorite post of the week, Mobile Myths on Morten Hjerde’s blog Sender 11.

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Social Networkers Reach Out More with Cell Phones…

… which is the title of an interesting article that appeared in USA Today a couple of days ago that discusses the market potential for mobile social networking. The piece basically reaffirmed my belief that mobile and connected are strongly related and that one reinforces and amplifies the other.  A couple of quotes that struck me:

Senior analyst Jill Aldort of the Yankee Group calls “mobile social networking a hot market with lukewarm potential.” (with regards to profitability)

Jyri Engeström, co-founder of mobile blogging site Jaiku, says, “Mobile social networking is more like ‘social peripheral vision.’ You have an idea what people who somehow matter to you are up to.”

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz says its mobile user base is growing faster than the website. … “Things that are inherently social are inherently mobile.”

But location-based networking has Big Brother implications. “It’s really cool, but it’s also possibly the creepiest thing happening,” says Facebook’s Moskovitz. Privacy controls are crucial. Buddy Beacon, for one, lets you switch to a “cloak” mode to stay under the radar.

The article also sports a sidebar with a listing of some of the more popular mobile social sites, including ComVu PocketCaster, Flickr Mobile, Groovr, JuiceCaster, JumBuck and Multiply.

Finally, there are a few interesting thoughts in the string of contents, especially those that are more critical of the whole 24/7 connectivity and feel the need to be disconnected from time to time. My favorite one is by McGarrett:

Why don’t they just wire a social networking chip in our brain? Oh yeah, our brain is already wired for social networking. So why do I need this?

Thought provoking indeed ….


Image Credit: “rickshaw-phones”, abaporu’s photostream at


Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Reflections on Pedagogy, John Traxler

Fourth presentation: John Traxler: Society, Technology, Education, and Learning Heading Towards 2012.

Technology predictions should be the easy part of 2012 (linearity, extrapolation?).

Idea of convergence, will it happen, or will we see divergence, e.g. the PSP or iPod? Is it an issue of personal preference? (interesting thought and I think he’s probably got a point. While some technology may be converging , like smart phones, many very popular devices are purposely not).
Technological trends:
• Miniaturization , virtual keyboards, etc.
• Pervasive computing, like the Internet-enabled fridge.
• Wearable computing
So is technology really the issue for education? Or is it economic activity, spiritual use of mobiles, etc. that will have an impact on education? Technology is important and it’s moving, but there are lots of other changes in our society that have a direct instrumental impact on teaching and learning, and the curriculum (my question is: so why isn’t the curriculum changing then??).
Are we creating a different kind of virtual community? A new kind of accessing and generating knowledge, e.g. citizen journalism? If so, what are the implications for education?

Literature on the sociology of mobility. What exactly does this mean? What impact is it having on society, schools, teaching and learning? How is it affecting emotional, f2f relationships, concepts of time and space, mobiles as creating perpetual contact?

Communication-surveillance-education??? Are the three somehow related?? (This is a very interesting question. With all the communication and networking tools we’ve got today, pervasive surveillance is not that far off, in many places it already exists (think traffic and security cameras, of which there are plenty in the Westminster area in London, where this conference is being held). Where does education fit into this picture?)

Changes to knowledge: access to information/data/knowledge …
• is easy and convenient (but structured/chunked and consumed differently)
• anytime, anywere
• just-in-time, just-for-me
 Example: wapedia
Diagram by Tom Brown, University of Pretoria: what’s beyond constructivism? (see this paper, for more info, the diagram is on p. 14). Are we going from knowledge adoption to creation to navigation?? (or connectivism, as some call it). Traxler thinks that this is not happening (yet), because of the still existing contrast between learning in static environments (formal education) v. increasingly mobile society.

Carnival of the Mobilists #93, and the Power of Mobile

Just in time for me to read before heading over to Europe is this week’s Carnival of the Mobilists (#93), hosted by Communities Dominate Brands. My favorite post of this week’s Carnival is probably the one about the use of cell phones in Myanmar/Burma, to record the civil unrest that has been taking place. This event is also an illustration of once again, the powerful roll that mobile phones can play as a medium to not only report news as it happens (see also this account on SmartMobs), but also to rally large groups of people for a cause. As a Reuters article from Sept 24 states (as quoted in the MobileActive Blog),

the military generals are “caught in a rare dilemma,” exacerbated by the presence of mobile phones:

They can either come down hard on the Buddhist monks leading the protests — and risk turning pockets of dissent into nationwide outrage as reports and grainy mobile phone images of revered, maroon-robed men and boys being beaten up leak out. Or they can give them a free rein to march round a few cities and towns — and risk the movement spreading across the country, and into other social groups, such as the students or civil servants, the other key players in the 1988 uprising.

More info on the issue of using mobile phones in the Burma/Myanmar protests can be found in this MobileActive post, with links to other sources as well.

Obviously, this situation is very similar to the protest in the Phillipines as described by Rheingold in Smart Mobs (see also here). Both are examples of the potential power of mobile phones as a medium to share information and take action, as described by David Cushman:

Now the media (the power to move minds) is in everyone’s hands – Literally with a mobile phone.
So, as the Burmese people shoot video of what’s happening – and share it with each other and the world – does this bring true power to the people? Knowledge is power – information shared is power growing exponentially. … The Burmese are sharing their problem with the world. But, like all communities of purpose, if we aren’t prepared to respond, in real time, then all their sharing is for nothing.
Share the problem. Defeat it.

The important question for me is though, are we truly preparing our students for a world in which information is often shared virally, and actions are based on this information, actions that can have far-reaching consequences? Are students, in the words of Cushman, prepared to respond in real time?

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Map of Future Forces Affecting Education: 2006-2016


KnowledgeWorks out of Cincinnati, OH created a Map of Future Forces Affecting Education last year. I got my hands on a paper copy during a keynote presentation of a National Science Foundation meeting in Washington DC this week. An electronic version and a link to download a paper version can be found here.

It’s an interesting map in that it lists half a dozen external forces that will affect education in the next decade in the areas of family and community, markets, institutions, educators and learning, and tools and practics. With regards to digital tools, it is noteworthy that the focus seems to be on mobile and connected devices, in an environment that favors personalization/customization AND networking/connectedness at the same time.

Another item worth noting is “the end of cyberspace” being one of the drivers of change, meaning that

places and objects are becoming increasingly embedded with digital information and linked through connective media into social networks. The result is the end of the distinction between cyberspace and real space.

This is more along the lines of the concept of ubiquitous computing I’ve written about on this forum before, but one in which mobile technologies definitely worth a role.

Even though the map was created from a US perspective, I’m sure at least parts of it apply to other contexts. It is interesting to navigate through and investigate, both in digital and paper formats.

Crossposted to the Handheld Learning Forum

Image Credit: “Futuristic Space Travel”, Jay Khemani’s photostream;

Mobile Phones, Mobile Minds


Here is an interesting video from, sent to me by my colleague Graham Brown Martin from Handheld Learning in London. It is called “Mobile Phones, Mobile Minds,” and can be found on or google video. The 26 minute video is an amalgamation of the pros and cons of using mobile phones for education. It’s an interesting piece, containing interviews with lots of different people, including students. According to, the video provides

A look at the world of young people with mobile phones, and the impact on schools and education.

Owning a mobile is becoming an indispensable element of young people’s lives, for both teenagers and increasingly primary age children, all around the world.

Are mobile phones a force for good, or an example of technology gone awry? Is it sensible to ban their use in schools or should this device be given a place in lessons and learning?

I like the video because it does a nice job of juxtaposing statements pro and con, without showing a bias toward one side or the other. Some items of note is the discussion of Prof. Yong Zhao from Michigan State (at about minute 20:30) who is investigating classrooms as ecosystems, with everything in it (teachers, students, technologies) as individual species that compete in a sort of Darwinian way. Also of interest are the closing statements in the final minute or so of the video.

While mostly shot in England, this is definitely worth watching for anybody interested in mobile technology and K-12 education. If you watch the video, please post some comments here.