Monday, November 12, 2007

The power of mobility

Communities Dominate Brands: Putting 2.7 billion in context: Mobile phone users:

"Now we have context. 800 million cars, 850 million personal computers, 1.3 B fixed landline phones, 1.4 billion credit cards, 1.5 billion TV sets. How many mobile phones in use today? In use today, yes, 2.7 billion (technically 2.7 billion in January, not December). They sold 950 million phones last year and the total worldwide mobile subscriber base grew from 2.1 billion to 2.7 billion. Three times as many mobile phones as automobiles or personal computers. About twice as many mobile phone owners as those of fixed landline phones or credit cards. And almost twice as many mobile phones in use as TV sets.

Phones are very aspirational. We project our personalities via the interchangeable covers, various decorations, stickers, and the massive industry of ringing tones. We customize our phone services further with ringback (waiting) tones, welcoming tones and background tones. Young people assign the same kinds of value to their emerging personality, their own perceived coolness etc, through their mobile phone, like older generations did with their first car."

This isn't surprising to me. My daughter will be getting a hand held learning device made by leapfrog this Christmas which will undoubtedly begin her lifelong relationship with hand held devices... which, at some point in the future will all meld into one device: phone + PC.

What is being done right now in education for the mobile phone or hand held device? Just recently my campus instated a text messaging program for emergencies on campus. The program allows you to register your cellphone and receive a text message if there is a campus shooting or fire, etc...

I've recorded lectures and provided them as mp3's for my students to listen to on their iPods. And now most holiday phone commercials tout the ability to play mp3's on the device. (Sidenote: the lecture's I provided were recorded live from the classroom, hence longer in length. I would not recommend this. Instead, cut the lecture down to 5 short minutes of important points. Or better yet, provide a podcast of supplementary material for the lecture. The students will be more likely to take advantage of these rather than a 20-30 minute lecture.)

I have a friend who recently graduated with a degree in Video Game Design. His first three interviews were for gaming companies developing games for the mobile phone platform. I was also excited to see that last February, Comverse Technology cracked a mobile phone to run Second Life.

It will only be a matter of time before my students are using Facebook from their phones (some already are) instead of their laptops and my the wiki textbook for my class will be carried in their pockets (disguised as a phone no less!).

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