Image via CrunchBaseI include the date in this title because I believe the "promise" of mobile computing will be fulfilled in the near future, but the current reality is that:
Gee, I have an iPhone
Gee, it has neat features & available APPs
But, Gee it's problematic to get connected!
As I started this note, I was participating in the Blackboard Conference at the Gaylord National Hotel, National Harbor, Washington, D.C. The comments below have been written upon reflection.
I’ll start by confirming that I love my iPhone. Falling in the category of a cell “phone”, I really do not think of this as a telephone; it is a computing and communications device. My expectations are to be able to make phone calls as desired, but equally, if not more importantly, I expect full Internet connectivity and the ability to access and share information from any location, at any time. However, the experience of getting connected and being able to access resources or participate in activities such as Twittering, online polling was widely variable and frustrating. Making a telephone call was the most successful. Within the hotel, I had 5 bars most of the time. However, 3G connectivity ran hot and cold. Just as I started to gain confidence that I could expect service, it would fail. Switching to the wireless network provided by the conference organizers was just as problematic. I did find moments of joy, but all in all it was frustrating. Because I’m on a quest to learn about mobile computing, I kept fighting the good fight. But, all the time, I thought about my dream to leverage this technology in the classroom or in association with learning experiences in any location. Sadly, we are not ready for prime time.
Attempting to use this technology in education should be encouraged and it must be supported. Educators must work with technicians and providers to communicate the issues and solve the problems. We have the world at our fingertips and we need to be able to grasp it and hold on. If we could put a man on the moon, forty years ago this week, we surely can step up to this challenge and open the doors to a new world of communication, collaboration, learning, creating and sharing.
Someone let me know how I can help.