In an interview with Judy Breck reported on mtrends, the many possibilities for providing more equal access to educational opportunities for women in the under -developed world was discussed. The interview tracked some very good examples of how mobile phones have allowed people in underdeveloped countries to bridge the digital divide. Mobile phones have provided the opportunity to make contact with the wider world and to have access to knowledge bases via the web.
Web 2.0 applications open the door to mobile users who do not have access to computers, servers and networks. With a web browsing capable phone, anyone with a mobile phone is able to gain access to their own web space from almost anywhere in the world. People are therefore able to access information when they need it from wherever there is mobile access. They are no longer disadvantaged by lack of access to libraries, learning in a bricks and mortar based institution and computer networks.
As you can see at the comprehensive list of Web 2.0 applications by Bob Stumpel et.al via Sacred Cow Dung blog., there are hundreds of applications that are now accessible with an internet capable computer. Not all are accessible via mobile phones yet and some applications might not be suitable on a mobile phone. What I learn from this is that there is a lot of work being done out there and we are only at the beginning of development in this area. Due to the nature of how Web 2.0 has evolved, the development of new applications has been user led. Therefore the possibilities for education are going to be really significant!
Derek Wenmoth’s chart on online environments via Leigh Blackall’s blog, shows the progression into social learning & connectivism from the learning models of behaviourism and constructivism. The convenience, ubiquity and overall social application that a mobile phone allows, makes it a prime candidate for building some of the means by which social learning and connectivism can take place. mLearning becoming a platform through which learners, their mentors, the learning content and community of practice can interact, develop, network, synthesise, reflect and do the things that good learning should be about.
This article by Dion Hinchcliffe via Alexander Hayes’ blog provides us with a glimpse of what is taking place in Web 2.0 application development. Mash ups, composite web applications that are partially constructed from the services and content from other web sites are growing at a phenomenal rate. A fully online web based software environment is not too far from being available anytime, anywhere. The technology is already available, time is required for the capabilities to be realised and tapped into. All of these developments make for interesting times for those of us who are exploring the educational use of Web 2.0 applications.