Monday, January 19

m-learning in 2009: predictions

The ever-charming Graham and his crew over at handheldlearning convinced a group of us to attempt a prediction about what would happen in the world of m-learning in 2009.

Here were my thoughts, in a christmas-pudding-inspired pantomime stylee:

Several of the large scale vendors and suppliers of VLEs, laptops, mobile phones will start talking seriously about mobile learning (YAY)

but they will dramatically over-simplify it to suit their own agenda (BOO).

For example saying they support m-learning, when all they mean is that you can do a small subset of their e-learning on a micro browser.

Phone providers will start selling their phones as m-learning tools (YAY), when all they are really interested in is increased data income (BOO).

Content providers will start supporting m-learning too (YAY), but many will merely be squashing big-screen learning on to smaller screens and thinking that they have got it (BOO)

The risk with this swell of well-meaning but slightly misguided support is that some of the real innovation that currently surrounds mobile learning might get swamped by these simplified ideas. (AAAHHH)

But all is not lost, because the number of mainstream tools that empower m-learning will continue to get easier (and cheaper) to use. (YAY) Think podcasting, think GPS devices and maps, think portable media and game players.

As the body of research grows, showing that m-learning really does work, increasing number of teachers will give these tools a go (YAY) and their cost of entry will go down as increasing numbers of learners will come to class carrying their own, rich media, learning enabed device (whether a smart phone, a UMPC or a game device).

Will this have come true by the end of 2009? Without a doubt!

But all is not lost ... if you are one of those vendors / suppliers / publishers, and you really want to get to know m-learning spend a little time cruising the many many successful m-learning projects around the globe and speaking to real teachers and learners. There is good stuff out there. I know I will be!

See if you can prove all my negative (BOO) predictions wrong ... check back this time next year to find out! :-)

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