After a little over one year and a half of thinking about and writing about mobile learning, I have reached my 100th post. I would like to take this opportunity to take a look back and reflect on how the world of technology has changed my experiences and my thinking.
Just before I began this blog in November 2007, I was working as an Academic ICT consultant with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. My PLN consisted essentially of the people I had physically around me. I had dabbled into blogging for about one year prior and had just joined Twitter (at the convincing of Quentin D’Souza). I was trying to figure out where I would spend my energies. I had purchased my first iPod about a year earlier and had recently switched my cell phone to a BlackBerry: both were beginning to change the way I was doing things. My BlackBerry, for example, helped me get rid myself of all paper calendars and convinced me that I could still communicate in various ways without being in front of a computer. My iPod was showing me that I could ditch lousy radio programming and make my own personal radio with a mix of music, podcasts, audiobooks and university lectures from iTunesU. I figured this may be the way of the future in education so I decided to dabble a bit.
WOW was I even in for a culture shock. Just the sheer volume of ideas, experiments, lessons and examples out there was staggering. What has been even more staggering is how quickly the technology has changed since then. When I began talking about iPods in my iPods in Education series, the biggest complaint about classic iPods was that they were only one-directional: namely, students could only consume content and not communicate or create. Interesting how the iPod Touch has quieted that criticism. Honestly, when I started this blog, I never dreamed that I would seriously be advocating for the incorporation of cell phones into learning when and where it was practical to do so but a year and a half and 99 blog posts later, I am a firm advocate for using cell phones in learning situations where they would be useful.
Then there were the presentations on mobile learning at the Learning Learning and ECOO conferences in 2008 and the raised eyebrow reception I received when I got into the subject matter. Most importantly, though, there’s Twitter. I haven’t yet delved into Twitter in this blog as much as I would like but I can’t underestimate how valuable this tool has been for me in sharing ideas and learning new perspectives to, and with, others. I will admit that in the first 6-8 months after I started using Twitter, I was questioning it’s value and whether it was worth my time. I mean, it wasn’t like a blog or del.icio.us right? Once my followers count hit about 100 or so, I began interacting with more people in new ways and began to understand the value of Twitter. I’ve gotten into Twitter so much that it’s become a mobile tool for me as well as I have installed a number of Twitter clients on my phones (first Twitterberry and UberTwitter on my BlackBerry and now Tweetdeck on my iPhone).
I must admit that I feel blessed living in a country where I have been able to get a good education and a good job to support the tools that I am able to purchase. Without that, I wouldn’t be able to live, navigate and study these digital spaces. Now, as a vice-principal, my new challenge is to try and take the learning I have had in my 7 years as a teacher and my 3 years as an Academic ICT consultant and influence school change in a way that is positive and practical for both students and teachers. I hope the next year and a half and 99 posts bring as much development in the area of mlearning and in my own personal learning as the last year and a half and 99 post have.
Thanks everyone for reading this post and the 99 others that preceded it.