Our reflection topic for the week was to discuss how we use mobile devices and how it might impact education in the near future. Personally, I haven’t used a phone or table much for higher education yet as I have a greater trust in my trusty laptop with its bigger screen and full keyboard. I’m not ready to completely dive in with a tablet yet but I’ve dipped my toe in the water, so to speak. I’m finding some applications are much more productive with a touch screen. I also found accessing my Coursera MOOC to be great on my phone as I can watch videos anytime and anywhere. I guess one of these days, I’ll have to throw caution to the wind and dive in.
In talking with a few friends and colleagues, it seems that most of us have a similar approach to how we use our mobile technology, in particular our smart phone. The great thing about it is we always have it with us and with it comes immediate access to information. As noted by John Cox (NetworkWorld 2010), immediate access to information keeps things moving forward. I’m constantly searching for how to videos on my phone. My dealer wanted to charge me $250 to change 2 air filters in my car recently. Fortunately, I was able to find out how to do it myself on YouTube. Final cost? $20 and 5 minutes of my time. I’m not the only one either. I went to help my brother put up a chain link fence the other weekend and found him outside watching a how to video on YouTube. Still, as I think about Bloom’s Taxonomy in how we use mobile technology, I realize that most of us are still at the lower levels where we use it to assist with understanding and applying but not much on creation yet.
I believe that mobile technology will play a vital role in higher education due to its ability to increase connections between people. During the early implementation of online technology at UH, a few adventurous souls dove in and created 100% online degree programs. However, a few years later, many of them switched over to a hybrid model. Why? Students complained about a lack of connection to the instructor, to their colleagues, and to the University as a whole. As noted by Diana Oblinger (Educause 2013), “Learners are connected. They connect with other students, faculty, advisors…”. Mobile technology can help create these connections. I had taken an online class in 2004 where we posted comments to an online discussion board. Worst class of my life. Mobile technology was nowhere near what it is now and it felt like a chore to be anchored to my desktop posting comments to students who I felt little connection to. Fast forward to 2014 and I feel much more connected to our classmates. I know more about some of them then I did about classmates I sat next to in a physical class setting. Seeing the tweets and pictures posted by them provide opportunities to find out more about them and help to create a sense of community that is vital to the success of online programs.
Finally, my three favorite apps are:
Calendar app- This built in app helps to keep me on schedule by synching with a shared google calendar.
You Tube- Nothing like a quick how to video before getting started on a project.
Google maps- Another app that gets me where I need to go, whether I’m driving or on the Bus.
Cox, J. (2010, March 23). Can the iPhone Save Higher Education? Retrieved from http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/032310-iphone-higher-education.html?page=3
Oblinger, D., (2013, March/April). Higher education in the connected age. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM1324.pdf