Ever heard of m-learning? M-learning, similar to e-learning is defined as, “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.” It is essentially the ability to learn from anywhere at anytime using a tablet, notebook, mobile phone or mp3 player.
Several physical classrooms and e-classes already integrate these mobile devices. They’re undoubtedly changing the way teachers teach as well as the way students learn, and it’s looking like the future of higher ed is only going to become more mobile.
This week, Amazon released the Amazon Fire, a revolutionary new phone available for purchase on July 25. Features include 32 GB of space; Mayday, a 24/7 live, on-device, video chat support; a 13-megapixel camera with unlimited picture space on the cloud; and the Firefly technology feature, which allows your phone to identify music, movies, phone numbers, and more than 70 million other products with the click of a button. The Firefly feature makes it easy to order items on Amazon directly from your phone, find concert tickets, and add TV shows and movies to your device.
The phone’s one of a kind features will once again change the way people use cell phones (if we can even call them that anymore), and may even give Apple a run for their money.
So how will it affect m-learning? Well, it will certainly make ordering textbooks on Amazon easier, for one. The new phone isn’t especially geared toward higher education or mobile learning, but the new features leave me wondering about the future.
The phone can scan certain aspects of our environment and tell us everything we need to know about it. Imagine how that could affect education. What if you could scan an animal and in return see their anatomical breakdown? What if we could see the molecular structure of a flower just by scanning it with our phone?
The 24/7 live video-assistance feature makes me think that the same thing could be done by teachers or tutors. Students who are stuck on a tough calculus problem could request video assistance where a live tutor could not only talk them through the problem, but actually draw on their screen for a more visual experience.
The future of mobile devices could be the greatest benefit or the biggest downfall our generation has ever seen. Either way, they will undoubtedly take learning to a whole new level.