Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

27 June 2011

Quick mobile thoughts

Clark @ 5:45 AM

SIM card vending machine

It’s obvious that mobile is booming, as you can tell from this shot taken as I deplaned at Heathrow Airport on my way from mLearnCon conference to an engagement.  It made me reflect on an interesting tension that emerged at the conference.  The resolution will happen, so it’s a question of when, not if, but it’s still a pain.

I was honored to be part of a closing panel with some very clever folks (Bill Rankin, David Metcalf, Carmen Taran, Jim Box, and Richard Culatta, to be specific) responding to crowd-sourced questions.  Paul Clothier served as ringmaster, and the highest rated questions were lobbed at us.

One of the emergent themes was considering what would be really innovative mobile learning applications.  We imagined things from individual coaches to universal teachers.  All this requiring, of course, a pretty robust infrastructure.

And of course, as I sit in an airport (awaiting the 3rd and final leg of which Heathrow was the first), and recognizing that I can’t use the data plan on my phone for fear of penury, I’m still quite frustrated with the situation.  However, there is hope.

advert for a ubiquitous data package

On the wall right next to the vending machine, which I also captured, is one solution.  Here, Vodafone is offering Brits mobile internet when they travel, at a very favorable rate. This is better than the solution I thought was possible: having a service at an airport where you hire a personal wifi device for some reasonable rate of $10 a day or something that you return when you finish your trip.

My traveling companion on the post-US legs (and Internet Time Alliance colleague), Charles Jennings, resides in the UK and said that the competition between providers supports this sort of offer.  £2 is far better than the rate I was hoping for, and way better than a $1 – $20 per MB that is my current option.

Unlike some who worry that we might lose thinking skills, I’m quite happy to devolve certain tasks to my external brain, and only retain the ones I wish to keep for myself.  And once I’ve become so enabled, it’s painful to do without.  I’m glad to see some are getting viable solutions, and hoping I’ll have one soon too.  So we can come up with even more fabulous ways to accessorize our brains. Which is what we want to do!


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