Bring Your Own Device 4 Learning (BYOD4L) begins on 27th January for five days. It’s a free collaborative online open learning (COOL) opportunity about smart devices and how they are changing teaching and learning in higher education.
At the same time as the course kicks off I will be launching a call for a new book project on the same subject. We can save the details until then, but in the meantime it explains why it is timely to start this blog.
As Chair of the Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group (MELSIG) I have a role in both – particularly the new book project.
Both are about disruptive innovation. To be clear, I use that term to mean how the changing context changes what we do and how what we do is better. Or simply, making good use of a new opportunity. The new opportunity here is:
- portability (Bring)
- personal (Your)
- autonomy (Own)
- technology (Device)
Actually that only captures part of the opportunity, though it’s a good start. So let’s do a quick dump of some of the other characteristics. We can then explore some of these in more detail here, in the course and in the book, it’s case studies and scenarios.
Ubiquity – common technology that is ‘everyware’. I like the idea that the hardware in this opportunity has a lot in common with clothing: it is close to your person, simply functional, personalised to suit the environments you occupy, acceptable to your peers, colourful and sometimes dashing, dispensable, not too expensive to maintain after the initial outlay, fun to accessorise, etc.
Accessible – there are a few meanings here too: ‘easy to use’ is one, and another is about the access the user always has to people and ‘stuff”.
Active and productive are other important ideas: the smart learning environment is active by default. Academics and students equally hold highly versatile, media rich productivity tools. What can we do now that we just couldn’t do before? Don’t answer that just now, we haven’t got time here. The opportunities are really endless.
Egalitarian – there is no reason for the academic to be perceived as more important. I wouldn’t say the academic becomes ‘just another learner.’ I really do have a problem with that – the academic role is now clearly different and they have a particular and skilled purpose to light the sparks and fan the flames. But there is less of a hierarchy and this really needs to be explored, because in many ways it is no longer to simply refer to the academic as the facilitator. We need a much richer understanding of the disrupted academic role that is inevitably an outcome of a smart learning environment.
For the moment that will do. There is already a lot to explore and discuss here and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Let me say, welcome to the MELSIG way of thinking if you’ve not encountered us before. MELSIG is committed to thinking differently – because we need to enjoy the possibilities!
Good luck to @chrissinerantzi and @suebecks who have done so much to get the course together. We’re all excited and I know we already have a huge amount of interest. That’s just the way it is now – we can, so we will!!