A few weeks ago I wrote a post saying that the adoption curve for any new technology is about four or five years wide.
The fact that “wireless” hits the cover of TIME magazine suggests that the impact of the technology and the talk about that impact has reached mainstream. Conversations I had a couple years ago about using smartphones in class are now appearing in popular press (one section of TIME’s feature story is called “Gadgets Go to Class.“)
This lines up with two other bits of news in the last few weeks: a story in The Atlantic last week: Fewer and Fewer People Want to Know About Computers, Says Google; and several reports that smart phone market growth is slowing, an indication that we’ve past the middle of the adoptiopn curve.
This ought to be good news for education, if it’s not for the Windows phone or any other smart phone trying to get that third spot behind the iPhone and Andorid devices. It means, I hope, that we can get on with the important discussion around how best to use the technology.
Incidentally, a little more that three years ago I wrote a post saying that I would take a mobile phone before a laptop for my students. Since then, I’ve worked with a lot of educational technology and even spent a year as head of school for THINK Global School where we ran a 3:1 program–an iPhone, iPad and Macbook Pro for every student and faculty member–to see how the devices worked both singly and together in various combinations. I would not want to be without a laptop (though, increasing that is being replaced by my iPad) but I still say that if I could only have one device for my students, it would be a smartphone. The laptop is not a game changer, it merely extends what the smartphone can do, making work easier but not radically different. A smartphone lets learning happen anywhere, anytime.
Update: Right after posting, I came across this article: Professors encourage use of gadgets in class.