Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I've posted before about the cell phone being slowly evolved into the "uber gadget" and that there are various reasons why the rest of the world is ahead of Canada in terms of phone technology. But then today, I saw a story (Google News search) about how the cell providers here are going to try to get an m-payment system going. This could certainly be very cool and would push cell phones that much closer to being an essential component of information management. This central role is already emerging in places like Japan (Technology Review article) that also have a culture of mobile technology use that is forced by a range of other factors. Canada it seems has a culture that demands easy payment systems (we seem to be ahead of the US in the ways that we can be cashless - at least that is what it seemed to be last time I was in the US). So what does this mean for m-Learning? I think it means that there is a new hurdle that has to be crossed and one that is not really that different than what you find in any other learning system. Culture will direct, if not outright dictate how certain technologies are rolled out, how they are adopted and ultimately how they will end up in the schools. For this reason, I think we may be a long way off if we hope to use phones for "serious education". Sure, they will be used as mobile notebooks as people record what they think of for later review, but this is only an option for a few. It will be a while before it will be available to the majority and in the end, I don't think we'll ever see a program that uses a standardized phone (ubergadget) as a learning tool. The technology is moving very fast and the hardware companies are building to specs that are largely dictated by the service providers and until they feel that they are willing to provide services that are "edu-business friendly", m-Learning will likely have an uphill fight. Technorati Tags: ,