Wireless EdTech 2010 Highlights
The 2010 Wireless EdTech conference, held October 29, 2010 in Washington, DC had nearly 300 attendees who discussed the visions, opportunities, challenges and knots to unite together to implement mobile learning. This cross-sector conversation identified four key puzzle areas.
- Devices and Infrastructure: How can we best balance educational investments between the classic infrastructure of wired computers and the emerging infrastructure of wireless mobile devices?
- Safety and Privacy: How can we use Internet access and digital student data to enhance education, while preventing various forms of abuse?
- Digital Assets and Assessments: How can we drive innovation in digital learning materials and services when the education market is notoriously fragmented and slow to adopt, and when the strengths and limits of mobile devices for learning are not well understood?
- Human Capital: How can we empower educators and other stakeholders to realize the potential of anytime, anyplace mobile learning through evolutionary, revolutionary, and disruptive transformations that move beyond the model of industrial-era schooling?
In his keynote address, Dr. Jacobs highlighted the major shifts mobile devices can create for learning. He described how the mobile experience has evolved from voice to messaging to entertainment to computing, each new dimension transforming what users can accomplish.
Dr. Chris Dede, a Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, prefigured these capabilities in his opening remarks and stressed that this new capacity for learning infused throughout the world is a powerful way of moving beyond the traditional model of learning - isolated from the world in classroom settings.
Beyond presenting work towards visions of new models for learning, the conference was designed to elucidate barriers to be overcome and breakthroughs needed if the potential of mobile broadband for education is to be realized. He described the most difficult problems as "knots" because they required coordination across stakeholders to resolve.
In keeping with the metaphor of puzzles to be solved, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, in a live interview with John Harris, editor-in-chief of POLITICO, articulated the opportunities and challenges of mobile learning. The conference enabled scholars, practitioners, vendors, and policymakers to engage in meaningful dialogues.
Complicating the challenge is that barriers in each area create difficulties for progress in the others.
The conference was not designed for participants to produce formal recommendations or detailed strategies for next steps. Instead it was a forum for dialogue among leaders in various industries, designed to enable stakeholders who do not usually communicate with each other to have extended dialogues about visions and opportunities, challenges and knots to untie together. Insights from the technology industry, educators, policy makers, and scholars drove a rich discussion. They saw a ubiquitous technology infrastructure that supports anytime, anyplace learning as central to 21st century education. Participants advocated for ensuring that every student and educator has a mobile broadband device, with training and support for its optimal usage to empower learning, and urged the systematic exploration of mechanisms to fund such an infrastructure for every district, school, and student, regardless of economic status.
Attendees indicated that they greatly appreciated having an event that centered on mobile learning and hoped that similar conferences would be held in the future so that stakeholders can develop a community that effectively champions these initiatives. In response, Qualcomm has convened a working group of leaders in mobile learning that meets periodically to build on the insights from the conference.
Conference MaterialsWireless EdTech 2010 Conference Program Guide