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Learning Mobile Devices Are Not Quite New

Michelle Pacansky-Brock was presenting and attending the MoblEd Conference in Pasadena, CA and she posted her experiences about what she saw and tries to find an answer for this question: How are mobile devices impacting education?

The discussion is aimed to be placed at top private universities but it does not go so far from what we have been trying to encourage here. The good uses of smart cellphones in the American classrooms. To private universities are quite easy hand out iPods, but student body at schools are already carrying smart phones. The only challenge is that the are not being allowed on the school grounds. With all the stuff students are familiar, "we clearly have a passion to have information with us at all times." writes Pacansky-Brock.

Mobility though, contrary to what people thought, is not something we just got with mobile electronic devices. It's a matter of emerging technologies:

    ...Writing in the classical period used to be preserved only through directly writing by hand on a scroll. A scroll was a long stretch of "paper" (actually vellum or animal skin) that was rolled at both ends and stretched when it need to be read. Scrolls could become very heavy and cumbersome to work with the longer the text became. At the end of the Roman period, when Christianity began to spread but had not yet been legalized, Christians needed to flee for their lives and the one item they would always desire to take with them was their scripture. This was when reading became "mobile." The need to move from place to place created a demand for a mobile "device" to transport the written word. This wasn't exactly the "birth" of the codex or the book but it was when it became more popular. Books still needed to be copied by hand, however, and it wasn't until Gutenberg's invention in the 15th century that provided for movable type and multiple copies of texts.

We will reflect on the questions at the end of her post. How will our public schools stay in sync with the private ones who have the enormous funds to support these innovative ventures. Try to be thoughtful in answering these question: Is it a matter of not having enough funds? Or is it a matter of values and priorities?

I think all it's about priorities, at least where Boards of Education handles large flow of money as for example the Elizabeth Board Education in New Jersey.

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  1. Hi Milton. Thank you for highlighting this post from my blog. I hope it generates some discussion or at least some quiet reflection. Innovation is truly an imperative value for of all educational institutions as we attempt to respond to the deep social changes that have surfaced in recent years.