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Mobile Computing – A Discussion

“Mobile Computing” is something we should be doing.

Honestly? That sounds like “eat your spinach, it’s good for you” — something that ‘everyone’ says is right but you personally aren’t so sure about.

I love raw spinach. Especially baby spinach leaves in a salad… makes the salad more attractive with those bright green leaves and the subtle flavor.

Cooked spinach? Not so much. If it’s on my plate I’ll take a couple of teeny mouthfuls — the ‘no thank you’ serving — but I can mostly leave it.

Mobile computing has really bright, shiny parts that are so very cool and some parts that are like that cooked spinach — not so bright and shiny but still valuable in the right places.

Oh. What is ‘mobile computing’ you ask? Good question. When someone comes up with a universally accepted definition, I’ll let you know. For now, let’s work with — getting information and interacting with others on a device you can carry in a pocket or a purse.

That automatically includes your cell phone. And maybe an iPad but it’s not really pocket sized. I want to include my netbook but that requires more of an oversized purse, kinda like that iPad. But, hopefully, you’re getting the picture.

Now that we have a device, what do we do with it? That’ a very good question! Sure, you can text / chat with your friends, take pictures and post to Facebook, make notes about appointments, listen to the radio and — oh, my — talk on the phone. What about education? How can you use these devices for teaching and learning?

Well, we’re listening to webinars this week from Educause. Anyone seriously interested in looking at the webinar listing can find that on the Educause site.  There’s really more information than you ever wanted and recordings of the daily webinars.

On the other side of the coin, there is the view point about the (lack of) value of the iPad in business. I enjoy Bob Lewis’ view of business and how it should work, although the best part is when he points out how business doesn’t work or works badly. Today’s article on the iPad, at the same time we have educators all ga-ga about the device is a refreshing alternative viewpoint.

My vote is still out on the iPad. I’m a Microsoft person by training so I’m automatically leery of i-anything. I’ve played with an iTouch device and it’s cool. But I’ve suspended judgment on the iPad for the moment until I know more.

But mobile things are headed our way. No. They are already here. Doing something intelligent with them is the challenge!

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