ICT & Computing in Education

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Synchronicity, mobile phones and a great upcoming conference

“That s the trouble with mobile phones”. Elaine was responding to the latest chirrup from one of the several phones present. “They are like an electronic leash; you can never quite get away from things.”

Her cousin, an hotelier up from the south-west for the afternoon, begged to differ.

“It’s thanks to the mobile phone that I’m able to be here at all” , he said. “I’ve had calls to the hotel diverted to my phone, so I can still carry on business, and none of the callers is any the wiser about the fact that I m not actually there.”

The discussion was given added piquancy by the fact that Ethan was present. Ethan is the author of The Importance of Mobile Phones in Education, one of the most popular articles on this site, having been read thousands of times although, strangely, Ethan seemed disinclined to venture any opinion at all. Possibly because he was engrossed in his iPhone.


Liberator or leash?The possibility of my own contribution to the debate was reduced to zero the instant my phone announced the receipt of an email from Dave Smith. That caused me to notice the time. “Oh my goodness. I’ll answer this on the way” , I told everyone as I raced to the door to make my way to an appointment with a hairdresser.

It’s strange, is it not, how certain linkages occur, what some would call coincidence , and others synchronicity ? Yesterday, the mobile phone was the common factor for me, and continued to play a part: I became so engrossed in responding to the email that I missed my station by two stops, and had to backtrack!

There now follows a public service announcement…

The subject matter of the email (and others) was the forthcoming Collabor8 4 Change conference, which is more of an unconference than a conference. Scheduled for November 17th in the sunny climes of Havering, Essex, England, this promises to be at least as exciting as the one we ran at this year s BETT show back in January. Already, we are excited and honoured to be able to say that Russell Prue will be our host/compere/Master of Ceremonies for the evening -- check out his brilliant website and tune into his BETT Radio next January -- and that speakers include the legendary Drew Buddie.

At the conference there will be table sessions -- small group 20 minute discussions on themes of interest to education professionals. If you have an idea that you d like to run past a few people, this is an excellent way to do so. It's also a very good way of collaborating with other professionals to thrash out possible solutions to a problem that's been irking you. Also, there will be 10 minute talks given by people like yourself. We also need sponsorship (for food and stuff, and for money for a good cause), as well as people to help out on the night. In fact, I’ve listed 7 things you could do immediately -- actions which will benefit yourself, Collabor8 4 Change and Britain! Read more about it on the Collabor8 4 Change registration page.

I do hope there will be at least one table session or talk on the subject of mobile phones… .

Issues to explore with students

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones to individuals, consumers, families and businesses?
  2. What are the (potential) social costs and benefits of mobile phones?
  3. What are the environmental costs of mobile phones?
  4. What apps are most useful for the purpose of learning?

Related articles

Socio-economic impact of mobile phones on Indian agriculture (textually.org)
'More drivers using mobile phones' (autonetinsurance.co.uk)
10 Fascinating Facts About Mobile Phones (mashable.com)
Environmental impact of cell phones (secret-life.org)

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(c) Terry Freedman