Monday, August 10, 2009

More on mLearning

Mlearning seems to be the topic that is getting the focus of ed tech attention these days. Cell phones in the classroom, or no cell phones in the classroom. Adult education doesn't have the same constraints as K12, so issues like cyber-bullying aren't so relevant for adults. But this blogpost by Rob De Lorenzo made me think, again, about how our ways of learning are evolving so fast, and how education is not keeping up.

Why do we call looking up information "cheating?" We look up information all the time. When we want to know something, we go online and look for information. Is that cheating? No, it's a life skill! We should be encouraging, not punishing this behavior. Rob makes the point that education used to be about memorizing a lot of information when information was scarce. That is no longer the case, information is now abundant. Finding it and thinking critically about it are the skills we need to be teaching now.

Recently, Aug. 3, the Sacramento Bee ran an article about using cell phones in the classroom. Articles like this are a big step towards educating parents and the community about the possibilities of mlearning. Along with interviewing some technology-using teachers and tech leaders, the article provides links to more information, such as Liz Kolb's blog on mlearning. (Liz has written a book on the subject, Toys to Tools, published by ISTE.) It was from her blog that I learned about YouMail, free service to listen to your voicemail online. OK, I'm not promoting it as educational, but I'm really liking it for my personal VM.

This is all to say that mobile learning is happening, ready or not. Arguments that sounded radical a year ago now just sound like common sense. Why shouldn't students look up facts, definitions, locations, using their phones? They should!
(Photo credit: silly_a1804)