Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ubiquitous technology

When I went to South Korea earlier this year to run a workshop in Intel Teach Thinking with Technology I remember talking with one of the participants about the notion of ubiquitous technology. At the time I really had no idea what he meant and he explained that it was the notion that technology will become such a part of our lives that it will sit in the background working for us; available to us at anytime, anywhere.
The reason I thought of this conversation is that I am presently travelling on a school bus with Year 8 students from Wedderburn College going down to the Pixar 20 Years of Animation display at ACMI in Federation Square. While travelling I've logged into the internet via a wireless connection which means that I can do a little bit of work (or blogging) as we head to Melbourne. Every second kid on the bus is texting friends and family and we are listening to music via an FM transmitter that one of the kids has brought on their Ipod.
Serendipidously (it seems to happen to me alot) I was reading John Pearce's blog and one of his posts was about m-learning called Today Two Years is Tout d'abord in which he discussed in part his progress along the continuum of ICT capabilities. He concluded that in some sense he wasn't as far along as he thought when comparing himself to Alex Hayes a senior Education Officer with TAFE NSW who writes about m-learning in a very interesting presentation that he is presenting at a conference in Canberra very shortly. According to WikiPedia as of August 22nd 2007, M-Learning is "learning that happens across locations or that takes advantage of learning opportunities offered by portable technologies"
Check it out here:

But Alex's point made me think again about the fact that ubiquitous technology, m-Learning or whatever you want to call it is changing the way we work, think, communicate, share, talk, learn, manage, reflect. But has it yet changed the way we teach???? I think in your case John, the answer is a resounding yes.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that ubiquitous technology has changed the way we live our lives. Information is much more readily accessible today than it has ever been before. Instead of reading the newspaper to learn about world events we can get updates sent directly to our cell phones. Communication has also been changed greatly by technology. Now by using the internet you can communicate with people around the world instantly instead of having to rely on the postal system. I also think technology has had a huge impact on the way that people teach.
In the past college consisted of research papers that required students to spend hours in the library looking through books, and tests that were worth 50% of your grade. Today those elements still exist but now teachers incorporate technology into their classes and the assignments that they give their students. In my French class we use computer software to record ourselves saying a paragraph that the teacher listens too and sends us feedback so we know where we need to improve our pronunciation. In my English class we created a blog where we kept an interactive online journal for the semester. Now not all of my teachers have integrated technology as much as others have but they all use technology in some way. I believe that as technology becomes more ubiquitous it will become a bigger part of the education system.

Laura Gasperik

Martin Crimmens said...

This notion of ubiquitous technology really excites me. I always remember in grade school that it was rather difficult for a teacher to be granted permission to take us on a field trip. Usually, it needed to be a place that was relatively close and there needed to be a very good excuse for going there. A main obstacle in getting permission for a field trip was that a field trip meant missing an entire day of school. I wonder how many more field trips I could have gone on if on the way to the destination our teacher was giving a lesson plan via a podcast. To think that it is now possible to have an essentially mobile classroom amazes me and creates images of weekly or biweekly field trips where the children are not deprived of any classroom learning. Furthermore, I remember the teacher always giving us a ten or fifteen minute presentation the day before the trip about what it is that we will learn about on the field trip. Of course, the next day we all had forgotten anything she said because all we could think about was FIELD TRIP!!!!! With a mobile classroom the teacher can now give a detailed and longer presentation on the field trip while traveling to the site. This way, the children will not only learn more about what they are about to see, but they will also have it fresh in their minds when they step off of the bus. Awesome!

Kathleen Thompson said...

Ubiquitous learning is increasingly becoming a reality in my life as I continue my college career. I am a secondary education major and have had experience using wiki to work on a group project. I was nervous at first that this project would be time consuming, scheduling time to meet with my group and so forth. But technology, I am finding, is here to help. Because the wiki page allows us to discuss group roles and edit the paper via the webpage, I don't have to meet with my group face-to-face as long as we all check our wiki page. Also, I am finding, as you did, that technology has become almost a subconscious experience, which allows for greater opportunity for cultural interaction (I talked to someone from China using Skype last week). Most importantly, technology is taking creativity to a whole new level. As quoted on your slideshow, “Anyone with a keyboard, camera, iPod, browser, is now an author photographer, deejay, publisher.” And that is what teaching is all about anyway, isn’t it? It is finding ways to expand the learning experience to challenge in more engaging forms besides lecturing and memorization. At the end of the day, I want teacher and student to change roles once in a while.