Last night, at the “Tomorrow’s World” Conference in London, Jane Knight of Learning Light posited that mobile learning encompasses and complements the concepts of Web 2.0 through things like moblogging, vlogging, and collaborative learning. In her presentation, she introduced the term “Mobile Learning 2.0″ and exhorted her audience to remember they “heard it here first”.
Well, you heard it here second. I suppose it’s the jargon that had to happen, in the wake of Web 2.0 and E-Learning 2.0… but in my view, we’re not quite there yet. While mobile learning may have begun to utilise some Web 2.0 tools, and as I’ve previously mentioned, also supports some of the same philosophies and learning theories, we’re a fair way yet from mobile versions of the kind of content and functionality that drives Web 2.0. In truth, we’re not really even at the point where “E-Learning 2.0″ has properly caught up with the range of newly available online services, to make sense of how Web 2.0 tools can be used for best practice teaching and learning, as I discussed with colleagues from around Australia in this forum last month.
Bearing in mind my previous post – that Content is Key – we’ve yet to see the kinds of services now available on the web, on any mobile platform. Web 2.0 is underpinned by a philosophy of a “read-write web”; but at the moment, interactivity between mobile devices and online services is relatively limited. Interactive Web 2.0 sites, such as Wikipedia, are only provided in read-only form for mobile devices (Wapedia); other online collaborative Web 2.0 sites like Writely, and Social Web tools like MySpace, have yet to release mobile interfaces or even support for mobile devices through things like incorporated QR Codes. Perhaps the biggest arena of mobile learning, podcasting, is characterised by a mobile consumption, rather than a mobile interaction, paradigm.
We’ll see true integration of mobile devices with Web 2.0 when Web 2.0 tools begin to show signs of that integration: for example, widespread availability of interactive mobile interfaces, ability to upload live podcasts from mobile devices, and addition of QR Codes to web-based pages to make transfer of data to mobile devices easy (such as on this blogging site in the top right corner – the “Kaywa Code”). The change in philosophy will also be apparent in the software that becomes deployed on mobile devices: software that easily links mobile devices together, facilitating the direct exchange and sharing of information in new, social ways – probably even ad-hoc mobile networking, as designed into Alan Kay’s “$100 laptops”.
My killer-app idea for Mobility 2.0? An ad-hoc client that works on any “local” wireless technology (e.g. bluetooth or 802.11) to discover other users in the local area and enable free text and voice-based chat, information sharing and file exchange.
Mobile learning certainly shows great potential to be deployed in ways that are consistent with the philosophies of Web 2.0. However, we need better integration between Web 2.0 and mobile platforms, and indeed, between mobile platforms, before I’ll personally be bold enough to claim the age of Mobile Learning 2.0 has arrived.
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