Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Learning from mlearning pilot 2

Derek Wenmoth has summarised in his blog on the future of reading the discussions triggered by the release of Amazon of Kindle, their handheld reader. Many commentators lament the gradual decline of reading. Along with the decline in reading print based media, comes an alleged decline in the way in which people have a wider perspective on various viewpoints and critical thinking skills.

Then a blog by Will Richardson on yound people’s skills in texting and using the net to complete their homework. A young persons skill level with texting (without the need to look at the keys) and their use of technology to have someone else complete a difficult homework assignment for them, are examples of how technology is being made use of by young people. Whether these skills are ethical or not, is perhaps not the point. What is important is that young people have different skill sets and perceptions of what is relevant to them at different times in their lives.

During our sessions with apprentices, I found the way in which they viewed the use of their mobile phones and their social networks, diverging from our views of how mobile phones could be used. In my blog comparing mobile to computer literacy, the way in which young people view information is not better or worse, just different.

For instance, I would find it intrusive to have my mobile phone track where I go so that I can receive information about the nearest shopping centre, bank, movie theatre I am walking pass. However, if I was travelling around in a strange city, I might appreciate this facility more. Young people tend to take for granted that being tracked on via their mobile phone is ‘normal’. They see the information that comes through their mobile phone as a ‘service’. They are surrounded by marketers who use text messaging to send them updates on the latest competition and TV advertisements for a myriad of material goods. However, from my experience, they are still savvy consumers. Witness the rise and rise of Trademe, young people know when they have a choice and they make use of technology to make that choice.