Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Keeping up with how mobile technology is progressing

I have been lurking on the Oxford University moodle discussion site on next generation mobile applications. The site facilitators include Tomi Ahonen, Ajit Joakar and Peter Holland. Tomi is well known for his work on forecasting future applications for mobile technology. Ajit has written a book called the Open Garden which discusses how to build commercial applications on the mobile internet and how innovation can be fostered within the mobile internet.

So far, the people who have introduced themselves on the discussion site are working mainly in the ITor telecommunications industry in mainly technical and marketing positions. So it has been an interesting perspective for me to have a look at the commercial aspirations of various individuals and companies..

The discussions range from the mundane to ones that really provide good information into the present applications of mobile phones. In particular, there have been several posts that have discussed the ramifications of present applications, using what we can do now to launch pad more innovative ideas and applications.

One of the most important things I am learning by checking on the discussions since the forum started at the end of August has been how quickly a community has built up. The other thing I have picked up is the positive energy and enthusiasm evident in various posts. The technology that allows so many people who have a common interest to come together to share their thoughts and ideas is really good to experience.

How can I replicate this for my apprentices? I would like to see that the community of apprentices that is formed becomes a support group that helps apprentices work through workplace assessment issues, evidence and portfolio gathering challenges and other topics that apprentices would like to discuss with each other. As it is, many apprentices are isolated in their workplaces where often they are at the bottom of the workplace hierarchy. Their struggles, which might seem to be extremely difficult for each individual, can often be more easily surmounted with the support of their peers.

Block courses that apprentices attend once a year could be use as the seeding points for a mobile community of apprentice bakers to start the process. The technology is literally in their hands as all of them have a mobile phone. They only need a platform for their discussion forum to take place. However, writing emails / moblogs are not something that the majority of apprentices would relate to. Perhaps we could start a discussion forum using audio /podcasting formats. Would it work? How could the discussions be threaded? How are we going to archive & then display the discussions on a mobile phone? Again, more questions than answers.

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