Education

You Want to Embed My Mobile Device Where?

February 18, 2009 1 min read

There are certainly a lot of cool tech tools and projects available or in the works to enable broader use of mobile devices, like cell phones and handhelds, by schools and students.

I got a chance to see and hear about a few yesterday at the Mobile Learning Conference in Washington. Like Project K-Nect, which puts cell phones loaded with a math program into the hands of middle school students, who then collaborate and practice more. The first results on the project are due out next month. There are also a number of ed applications for iPhones and other cellular devices.

One innovation touted as “in development” crossed out of the “cool” realm and into the creepy. In a presentation that set out to define mobile learning, a presenter suggested that soon enough, perhaps in 5 or 10 years, mobile devices will be embedded in humans. Imagine, the speaker asked, all the challenges and opportunities for teachers who will be designing curricula for such devices!

It seemed a pretty far out there statement to me, but then again I don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry, so maybe I just don’t understand how someone would want to be permanently attached to a computer. But I came across this article from last year that includes an interview with Martin Cooper, who invented the cell phone. He has long envisioned this kind of application of technology, but is disappointed at how long it is taking to get there.

Yet even Cooper is skeptical that embedded devices will gain broad acceptance: “It’s not really the technology, it’s the people,” he told Reuters. “People are really conservative.”

I may be from the Oldspeak era, but none of the little humans in my house will be fitted with a computer as long as I have anything to say about it. And that goes for tattoos and body piercings as well!

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.