(originally posted at MacClassroom 2.0)
Everybody is talking about it and the hype machine is in full swing: the iPhone is almost here. I don't want be a part of the hype, but what I do want to throw out is this: with the release of the iPhone, has Apple started a new age of pocket computing? I have looked at Palm and the Windows portable devices in the hopes of using this technology in the classroom, but they seemed inadequate and underpowered for the kind of vibrant, all-use device that I envision. I don't think that this is anything that will have an immediate impact, but I think the future is definitely on the horizon. One thing that has begun to tickle my brain is utilizing a piece of technology that almost every kid has and wouldn't cost the school systems a dime to utilize: the cellphone. I have begun to realize that my students have the necessary tools to create multimedia projects right in their pockets! Camera, video camera, calendar, voice recorder and you can even do podcasts via cellphone using gcast (haven't played with that one, yet). What do you guys think?

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It's kind of embarrassing to admit that I want to get an iPhone as soon as they're available. Can't afford it at all, but still might do it, by taking on the extra tutoring cases, and working, I don't know, maybe as a bagger at the grocery store! Wouldn't it be nice if Apple would donate some iPhones to educators who promise to use them wisely (and in a wildly creative manner, of course) at school?
Yes, this might be the age of pocket computing. Shawn, "the future is definitely on the the horizon," it could be a new dawn.
Would you say more about how the cellphone might provide the necessary tools to create multimedia products? Do you mean the iPhone, or cellphones in general? How is an iPhone really different? (I have my ideas, but I'd like to hear yours.) And looking into that gcast seems important.
We have to be very careful that this isn't an ad for Apple, but rather a critical review. It's hard for me to appear sophisticated and critical while the drool is running down my chin.
totally with you on the drool...
I'm not down with the hype. The iPhone is just another tech gadget. I doubt the iPhone itself will revolutionize anything. It is a step in evolution not revolution. As noted by Shawn, today's cell phones have a cornucopia of features. I barely use any of the features, but I'm sure my students do. Be sure to let us know how the iPhone functions!
I agree with your point that it is "just another gadget." But wow!

However, the idea of integrating cell phones in the classroom is novel and intriguing, but my great fear is that we have done nothing more than breed a generation of consumers.

It's bad enough that our Hollister-Abercrombie-GAP-Banana Republic-Old Navy wearing students consume more material goods at a grossly disproportionate rate than their wallets can truly afford. Now we are asking, actually presuming, that they possess all these savvy new phones, I-pods, etc...

Connie warns us not to advertise for Apple, but the really frightening part is that we are Apple. My school, entirely PC, stills refers to video-editing software as I-Movie...and we don't even use it!!!

It all makes me want to grab my box of Kleenex...even though the box says 'Puffs'.
My wife brought up this argument about not all students have cell phones. We are a Title I school with over 70% free/reduced lunch, but it is the rare student who does not have a cell phone. I'm not advocating consumerism by any stretch of the imagination, but almost every phone is capable of doing some pretty amazing things and we aren't tapping into that technology. Our students have limitless opportunity for creative self-expression, but they are using new technology in very old ways. Texting is just note-writing for the 21st century. I don't want to be the educator who wouldn't incorporate the calculator because it was "new"...
I'm not knocking the iPhone, I think that the full implementation of a computer OS is a quantum leap forward for truly mobile computing. No more half measures a la windows mobile or the really stodgy Palm OS. However, I am really interested in the integration of the oh so ubiquitous cell phone into the educational process. Think about how you would utilize the camera and the video camera for multimedia production. You could easily create a video by editing together the 10 to 30 second snippets that a cell phone is capable of doing. Beyond that, most cell phones have a calendar which students could use as a planner and even set reminders for tests, project due dates, etc... Gcast allows you to podcast via cell phone. I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg. While the iPhone really represents new, invaluable technological progress, are we really taking advantage of the de rigeur technology of the cell phone?
I like your thinking Shawn about the big picture. I am reminded of the YouTube video titled "Pay Attention". Every educator should have the opportunity to watch it. It is very powerful and seems relevant here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEFKfXiCbLw

Good post!
Here's an article in The Economist called "The Third Act". This conversation is really interesting.
Doug Belshaw has a neat article on using cells phones (mobiles over here) in the class room.
We have used them to create 'student experiences,' short videos outlining what it is like to be a student on our course. As quiz buzzers and as cameras is 'treasure hunt' activities, eg when research Health and Safety they had to scower the college for sign and take snaps to prove their finds. (There are some bits on the http://btecnationalsinsport.wikispaces.com/student+testimonies)


I hope this helps.
I just started checking out your links. Wow! Thanks for the info.
Check out this posting from the TechSaavy Educator blog: Mobile Learning Redefined. It provides some links to various applications for cell phone use in the classroom.
Another article, this one in the New Yorker, about "future creep."

from the New Yorker website:
"May 28, 2007
The Financial Page
Feature Presentation
THE FINANCIAL PAGE about “feature creep,” the proliferation of complex features that make high-tech products harder to use. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. But too often it seems to make things harder, offering us fifty button remote controls, and cars with dashboards worthy of the space…
by James Surowiecki"




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