myU OneStop

The Blog on Emerging Academic Technologies


Mobiles and Literacy, Part I

In my previous post I asked educational technology consultants from OIT's Collaborative for Academic Technology Innovation for their thoughts on how we might prepare faculty, staff and students to use mobiles in teaching, research and work at the University of Minnesota. Kim Wilcox, Senior Educational Technology Consultant, writes:

Parry's piece makes clear the conceptual hurdles that may exist for any number of us--especially those of us rapidly approaching geezerhood--attempting to reach "mobile literacy." Preparing to teach and learn in a mobile world will mean learning to think in very different ways, to imagine differently how we might use the capacity of mobility to achieve specific learning outcomes.

I am still concerned on some practical levels. How will the University ensure some form of mobile equity? Will all students have access to web-enabled mobile devices? There are still inequalities among devices themselves. For example, not all mobile devices have Java and Flash capabilities, or high-resolution cameras. There will be design challenges for creating assignments.

Nonetheless, there will be no turning back. In the past, early adopters did cool stuff but few others knew about it. Today, the channels of communication are much better and sharing is much more a part of the culture. So for me, the challenge is getting up to speed enough to consider how we might approach faculty development in this area, as well as considering how to help faculty prepare their students to use mobile devices in ways that may be new to them.

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