There is growing excitement with a new class of mobile device hitting the streets over the next few months – the electronic tablet. Most of the buzz is about Apple coming out with what’s dubbed the “iTablet” that essentially would be a larger screened iPhone or iPod Touch.
Some enterprising people have mocked up images of what it could look like:
But several other vendors are beating Apple out of the blocks in what will be an intriguing race for a market sector that is set to put mobile learning truly on the map. Have a look at the Archos tablet:
These devices have 9/10” screens, are light (or should be), portable and connectable to all sorts of other peripherals. The screen means browsing and interacting with internet sites becomes even more natural and accessible, especially with modern gesture based touch screen technology.
There is something vaguely nostalgic about this new wave of tablets. Remember Apple’s first attempt at going mobile – the Newton?
I had one of these and while it demonstrated a lot of promise it was an idea before its time. However things are looking brighter this time round. The processing power and connectivity is now here to make these devices excellent portable learning tools. The size is practical for all ages and seriously challenges traditional text book provision and the way we engage with digital assets such as video and online learning content. The personal nature of the device means we can annotate everything and still share everything.
It looks like the promise of mobile learning will finally arrive in force in 2010.
If you want to get a fantastic indication of where all this is heading, you really should read Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer which features an intriguing vision of a “state-of-the-art interactive device designed to raise a girl capable of thinking for herself”.
Imagine an education system that could do that…