Education Goes Mobile with Smartphones, or Does it?

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Should smartphones be built with features that support education?
Monday, June 7th, 2010

Debate Discussions about the inevitability of phone and computer convergence have been ongoing for several years around the globe.  In Korea ICT usage in education was cited by Myung, Sook-Pang of KERIS (Korea Education and Research Information Service) in 2007 that usage of technology in schools in Korea was 99.6 percent.  It is fairly well accepted that convergence is the most likely path for computers and phones but it may be fruitful to raise questions about the difference between usage and usefulness.

Given that educational organisations have more constrained budgets than many places and in the context of Green Growth, should smartphones be built with features that support education?

 

Yes As it stands much of the potential for these features exists but the potential requires development in order to be usable.  This situation is not in alignment with the conceptualization of green growth in Korea, that is as Korea is reflected to the world, but in alignment with volumes of customer basis for sales.  There is a substantial difference between a smartphone being able to be used in education and it being able to be improve education and the difference requires thought and long range planning and inevitably addition of features.

 

No The conditions for convergence of computers and phones is extant in Korea but for developing countries the infrastructure required to support convergence may take longer therefore there are definably different markets that exist and businesses will not have as much success trying to sell overly advanced equipment into less supported geographic areas and to attempt to do so would be deleterious to the economy and expectations for ICT use in education.  Further, there are elements of education that are not likely to be able to be converged and entire business models for whom convergence has potential to impact and convergence for these might be a response that would also cause job losses.  A surface assessment of sustainable development for education in the context of computer and phone convergence suggests that inclusion of education features in smartphones is not wise in the immediate future.

 

More on this debate in the specific context of developing economies can be viewed here: http://edutechdebate.org/mobile-phones-and-computers/phones-need-to-converge-into-computers/