Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ubiquitous Technology, Ubiquitous Learning

As smartphones (aka mobile learning devices) become more prevalent and more accessible by more people, it raises concerns of security, privacy, and the policy that governs what is acceptable use in and out of the classroom.

Though schools are beginning to re-evaluate their cell phone policies (see article Schools Open Doors to Students' Mobile Devices), there is still debate around whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs of allowing mobile devices to be a part of the learning environment. What school officials, teachers, and policymakers cannot do is ignore the fact that students have access to, and are using mobile devices in an alarmingly increasing rate, let alone the internet and social media sites.

Through mobile devices, students are able to use the medium of which they are accustomed and motivated by, to learn new information, as well as demonstrate understanding. Technology can be integrated throughout various curriculum.

When thinking about the pros and cons of mobile learning and allowing mobile devices within schools, we must think about what we are sacrificing. What are we sacrificing if we continue to view mobile technology as something foreign, untrustworthy, and unacceptable? Through strict mobile device policies, are we creating what Foucault termed as docile bodies? Students that are a part of a learning system that is disconnected from their own lives? What would be possible if we embraced the ubiquitous technology and created spaces for ubiquitous learning?

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