Friday, 25 June 2010

H800: Week 19 – A7: Adopting a smartphone

Reading Do Smart Devices Make Smart Learners? (Pettit & Kukulska-Hulme, 2008)

  1. Given what you know about your colleagues, students or friends, what role would you take if you were introducing them to a new device? Would you see yourself as a teacher/tutor or as a friend?
  2. Would you go for the approach of the Qtek Clubs described in the paper?
  3. How would you support your colleagues/students/friends in their learning? Would you create learning activities and, if so, of what kind?

In linking this activity to the broader themes of H800, you may like to consider whether, in your view, Qtek Clubs and similar forums are instances of learning by acquisition or learning by participation. Or a hybrid?

Before addressing the main questions related to this activity – a couple of quick points on the research paper. Firstly, I thought it was quite a weak piece of research. The paper devotes quite a lot of space to aspects that are unique to the particular device used in the research, which in my view is largely irrelevant to the broader aspects of smartphone use. Do we really need to know what the phone signal was like, or that make-up smears got on the screen when using it as a phone? Secondly, it is quite marked just how quickly a piece of research like this can become almost completely obsolete. The latest generation of smartphones are so superior to the one in this study that most of the findings have limited application in the context of the modern devices.

As for introducing colleagues, friends or students to new devices, I think the important thing is that people tend to use them in different ways. We need to discover what works best for us and the only way to do that is to play around with it yourself. Yes – of course it helps to be made aware of the potential of the devices, and new applications and so on, but ultimately these are personal devices and we have to use them ourselves. There is a vast amount of guidance online these days, and a simple YouTube search for any device would almost certainly yield a wide range of user-created videos which will show you how to do just about anything. I don't think I'd be particularly interested in the 'Qtek Club' approach.

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