Having just attended the 12th Annual Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning, or #mLearn2013, It is a good time to write up some notes on three areas that got me thinking.
Apps vs. HTML5
There was some discussion around the future of apps and whether they are meeting our educational needs. There was a suggestion by a few techies that Html5 based apps would better suit us and there are some merits. Apps need to be designed and written for specific Tablets and their operating systems but Html5 works within web browsers on any device. It seems that this would level the playing field and create more equality. No matter the device, students in a BYOD learning environment could complete the work as their classmates. Another clear advantage is when at the institutional or departmental level in terms of deployment. Apps need a marketplace store from which to download and currently it works off a pull system (but soon to change, probably to a centralized push system). HTML5 is distributed through the open web and allows for less restricted access.
A Tablet for EDUCATION
Several comments revolved around the current crop of tablets are designed for business and profits. What would we as educators want in a tablet designed specifically for teaching and learning for all contexts from cities to rural villages?
- Alternative power charging capabilities and sources with a longer battery life.
- Multiple user accounts allowed with transfer of data and apps (small fee only?) between accounts possible.
- Open source to create dynamic teaching and learning opportunities quickly
- Durability in terms of both hardware and software
Device Agnostic Design
When talking about technology in education, a specifically mobile learning, the planning and design of teaching and learning should be device agnostic. That is to say that teaching and learning pedagogy should be planned out and technology serve as a tool to support it. Whilst I myself am an Apple Distinguished Educator and work solely with iPads in my university, I always ensure pedagogy based on evidence underpins the design and then if the iPad adds to it, great! Tablets usually do but in other BYOD environments, device agnosticism is particularly important. This may not pan out for specific content or skills within highly specific disciplines but for the most part, we can all research, communicate, collaborate and create using a multitude of ways.
What are your thoughts on apps, Html5, a tablet build for us and device agnosticism? Tweet me @digitalemerge