Sunday, December 21, 2008

living and learning in cloudland

I might be able to live without it, but can I learn without it?
Topping the list of the Australian-New Zealand Horizon report, identifying emergent technologies and key trends in higher ed, is the mobile phone.
The aspects of mobile phones that lead to this top ranking include ubiquity, portability, connectivity, and locus of control.

Critical challenges that they then identify include:
Teachers/lecturers not having the skills to make effective use of emergent technologies, much less teach students how to do so.
A research lag.
Lack of open broadband access.

At this point I would dearly love for any reader, philanthropist, parties with vested interest, or Santa Claus to financially support my PhD studies... a mobile phone, an iphone, and an internet service provider contract would assist me greatly in being a better teacher :) as well as supporting research in the impact that emergent technologies have on how care is communicated.

Adapting to change in institutionalised sectors is difficult. They tend to move slowly, despite the possibilities afforded. And its not only slow, its also resistant with bans on cell phones being prevalent. A trend more recently being reversed not because of learning applications but risk aversion with campus shootings a real concern. Actor-network thinking is useful because what keeps things in place as well as what reconfigures and stabilises gets to be considered. The parallel developments provide stability here. This and that strengthen each other. The actors in this network cohabit. The wherever and whenever affordances. Such changes seem unlikely to go away in the near future, they appear too useful.

A parallel 'emergent technology' development is 'the cloud'. The cloud refers to distributed data storage through to processing possibilities and applications ... for example Flikr, youtube, slideshare, and blogger 'live' entirely in the cloud. Such applications are not situated in any one space. Networkings hold the knowledge and to the end user the cloud is invisible. Such accessibility to data and to applications makes the mobile phone with internet connectivity an even more desirable commodity as content is easily sharable, easily distributed as well as easy to collaborate on.

These changes are important, the portability and access are changing how we relate to data as well as to each other. The actors are themselves reconfigured along with their technologies. Hence the need for further study...hence the PhD...


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  5. Cloud technologies sound beautiful.. and happy new year from heli too..
    I have enjoyed your posts and Jenny's and Keith's now I will take a break.
    I will follow your doctoral studies, so keep blogging please

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog Jenny and Heli, you are welcome back anytime. Hope Christmas and a new year treat you well, ailsa