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The importance of being mobile (part two) | Applications & education

2 min, 15 sec read
15:29 PM | 1 March 2013

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Smartphones are notorious for their disruptive nature. E.g. it is socially accepted that your smartphone is more important than the person that is right in front of you. Just pick up your phone, reply to that (not so important) message and then continue your face to face conversation.

There are numerous sources that claim smartphones lower our attention span and therefore decrease our focus on, for example, a lecture or classroom interaction.

The heavy technology use, Dr. Christakis said, “makes reality by comparison uninteresting.”

(NY Times, 2012)

Negative effects (of digital technology such as smartphones) cited include the need for instant gratification, a lack of concentration, craving for social affirmation, loss of patience.

(, 2012)

This ongoing trend of smartphones and tablets invading our schools and universities require a vast restructure of our educational systems. We must embrace the opportunities and advantages that mobile applications provide us. That is unprecedented means of communication and access to virtually unlimited information sources. If we incorporate mobile applications in educational systems instead of banning them from institutions and disallowing usage by students it is possible to convert the presumed negative impact into interesting and positive possibilities.

M-learning can substitute the PC/laptop which is not always within reach, the mobile can be used for the acquisition of knowledge, may help to speak in a foreign language, may help students with difficulties in a more appealing and motivating way. 

(The Incorporation of Mobile Learning into Mainstream Education & Training, Keegan, 2012)

The transition of usage from desktop PC’s and laptops to smartphones and tablets in learning environments is inevitable as this is already happening in our offices, living rooms, public transport and other public spaces. Some learning institutions are already accepting and introducing iPads for students and professors. Tablets offer the same functionality as laptops but are relatively less expensive, offer better portability, a more dynamic learning ability and engaging experiences through apps and interactive books, like those made with Apple's iBooks Author.

There are numerous apps (and mobile devices) that enable us to work & learn more efficiently. These fascinating products don’t come falling out of the sky. Mobile innovation introduced many new employment and career opportunities. The mobile industry has created jobs that were unimaginable a few years ago and the possibilities and opportunities in this sector are only increasing.

Next time we will take a look at the career opportunities and introduce some of the more interesting mobile related companies and agencies out there.

Meanwhile have a look at this fascinating video from Microsoft, Productivity Future Vision, about the future of mobile and digital productivity.

Read part one of Tommie's mobile series: The importance of being mobile (part one) | Day-to-day life & behaviour.

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