Friday, October 03, 2008

What people in education do with their mobile phones?

I gathered some interesting information by surveying the people I was presenting to in 5 separate presentations over the last couple of weeks. Basically I asked the question ‘ how many uses they put their mobile phone to’. The answers provided me with a snapshot of the current state of play with regards to the use of mobile phones by various members of the public.

The groups included a group of 30 plus CPIT staff (half of which were in management roles), a mixed group of just under 20 educators & industry people at the Tony Bates seminar and three lots of teachers. One of about 30 who were teachers of commerce, economics & IT at secondary schools, over a dozen tutors & support staff from Weltec and 70 plus ITO & polytechnic & private provider tutors from the motor trade industry. In all about 160 or so people.

Almost no one owned up to using their mobile phone for more than 10 things – voice calls and text were universal. The ownership of ‘smart phones’ was less than 10%. Almost all the ‘smart phone’ owners only used the ‘web’ to check email. In comparison, I chalked up 39 that I would use regularly including reading ebooks, playing games, listening to music / podcast, viewing word, excel, powerpoint & pdf files, calculator, converter, surfing web, clock, torch, contacts, memos / note taker, camera, video, anagrammer, to do list, email, SMS, IMS, update blog, calendar / diary etc.

All of which was good from my point of view as I was hopefully able to raise awareness of how mobile learning tools could be put to use for mlearning. Not so good in that awareness of the concept of the mobile phone as a ‘swiss army knife’ has not taken hold at all in the general public awareness. Still lots of work to be done on evangelising the mobile phone as a useful rather than as a pernicious piece of hardware that has to be fed regularly with electricity, where very time you made a call or text, money would have to be involved and which is often the bane of privacy seeking individuals & school teachers.

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