My first computer was a MAC; slick grey lines, beautifully designed keyboard to lightly tap away on, friendly and easy to use. After all, I had had no IT training and appreciated not only the design but the simple drag and drop ease which MAC offered. When I left my home to study abroad, I didn’t take my desktop with me. Instead, I learnt how to bang away on Windows, becoming acquainted with different word processing programs of the time. Yes. I did miss my own desktop but was happy enough slipping and sliding disks where I saved my work.
Already I was involved in quiet conversations of how a communication revolution was about to take place; a revolution so profound that human communication would change forever. I knew where it had started but didn’t know the name. Some months later I did, and I too was connected with a modem to the internet. Connected to the world – or so I thought at the time.
I still used floppy disks to back up work. I began disliking the unreliability of the modem. I dreamt of a more streamline and fluid form of communication.
From desktops to laptops, from laptops to mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone, today I have become more agile, more mobile than ever. With or without wifi, I am able to digitally connect with others. I no longer carry floppy disks of any format; you can always count on me having several USBs/flashdrives tucked away in my bag; I digitally dwell in and out of Web 2.0, welcome the approach of Web 3.0, delight in free flow of communication, information and learning.
Open doors, open windows. Criss-crosses of light beaming and transporting me.
Where does that leave me as an educator? How significant is my own rite of digital passage in regard to others? In order to reflect more closely on the role of mobile devices in today’s educational settings, I turned again to my PLN.
Over four days, I shared my survey on Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo and G+.
I received a total of 585 responses, 3 of which did not include their country of origin.
In my fluid digital world, there are also glitches. Time, context, connections. One participant (who I will refer to in more detail further ahead) was so willing to participate that he/she sent me a Word document as there had been digital glitches.
Fluidity does not necessarily imply perfection. Here below you can see the results of the mini survey.
My 1st question was:
My 2nd question referred to participants’ age group:
And my 3rd question inquired into where participants were located. From East to West, North to South, the 585 participants are located in:
As mentioned above, I also had a special contribution from Romania:
Number of participants -> 12
10 years of age/ 6 participants
9 years of age/ 5 participants
8 years of age/ 1 participant
Laptop / 8 participants
iPad / 3 participants
Desktop / 1 participant
1) There was 1 participant who added that he/she did not have an iPad yet;
2) 1 participant skipped Question 1;
3) 6 participants skipped Question 2;
4) 3 participants skipped Question 3.
5) 1 participant told me in one of my PLN that Question 2 was too difficult to answer as the use of device depended on context where they found themself.
6) I did not include young learners, (i.e. under the age of 15) aware that some schools use firewalls and that perhaps teachers who did not know me, (or did not have time to carry out survey in class) would not allow their learners to participate in the survey. Nevertheless, and even though I work in Higher Education, it is this group of learners who will be defining the future’s preferred digital device. Their voices too should heard.
Communication requires a context, shared points of reference and the acceptance that everything is relative.
However, I purposefully gave no options to participants in regard to context of use. My aim was to narrow down options as much as possible, hoping that participants would provide answers which reflected their true use of digital device. Obviously, a laptop will be more popular than perhaps a iPhone/Android when there is a need for writing more than a message; just as perhaps an iPad/Tablet may often be more comfortable to read in bed than a laptop. For each context, today we have choices in regard to different digital needs and purposes.
Mobility. Fluid, uninterrupted, flowing.
A desire to be achieved or a desire in action?
Looking at the pie chart, one clearly sees how laptops, iPad/Tablets and iPhone/Androids have become more popular than desktops. My next entry shall be an attempt to address issues raised today and possible approaches to the change that mobile learning brings to education and classrooms.
To all participants, my sincerest thanks for your time and support. A very special thank you to Cristina Milos, @surreallyno, who when faced with a digital glitch, took time to send me the results via email, thus ensuring that young voices from Romania would also be heard.