Friday, 10 February 2012

Failure and 5 Big Questions For mLearning

Last week we discussed the call for innovation and the opportunity to create, collaborate and build technology that matters. Like most great ideas we also need to study FAILURE first.
An optimist will tell you failure is simply many tiny adjustments to success. A pessimist will tell you why they don’t like your idea and may elect to give you many reasons why your approach is flawed.

 ….taken from Wikipedia – defining Failure
Thomas J. Watson is attributed with saying "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate". Wired Magazine editor Kevin Kelly likewise explains that a great deal can be learned from things going unexpectedly, and that part of science's success comes from keeping blunders "small, manageable, constant, and trackable". He uses the example of engineers and programmers who push systems to their limits, breaking them to learn about them. Kelly also warns against creating a culture (e.g. school system) that punishes failure harshly, because this inhibits a creative process, and risks teaching people not to communicate important failures with others.

For me, FAILURE is not even trying, giving up, passing the buck, not taking the road less travelled and not engaging in the risk = the missed opportunity.

Big Failures and lessons learned

Turning to education and mlearning we have a tremendous opportunity to transform lives and impacting a positive learning experience. At home we download eBooks that encourage my 6 year to read challenging stories. We have access to educational games that help with simply math problems.  As we plan our summer vacation to NYC we can pull up interactive maps, engage augmented reality apps on my tablet and plan our itinerary as if we were already there.

In a recent article by Chris McGuinness, smartphones – apps seen as the future - he provides some insight as an administrator and the impact on his staff.  David Dominguez, Ellison High School's principal, said he and his staff use an app called Tapatalk, which allows them to access a staff forum where they can discuss a variety of topics. "We use it to share ideas, participate in book studies and discuss professional development," said Dominguez, whose school incudes a staff of more than 150 teachers. "It allows for a two-way conversation that's not going to get lost in a sea of email."

Mobile is real time. It provides a unique opportunity to open up new pathways for learning.  Failure is embraced in the mobile world - providing immediate feedback in one click.

5 Big questions for mLearning:

Are we effectively communicating the benefits of mobile technology in our schools? – to our teachers- to our parents – to our children?
Are we providing effective mobile tools for collaboration, sharing, social and instilling creativity?
Are we saying no to mobile technology just because it is seen as a distraction?
Do we have the knowledge and mobile expertise to inspire the next generation of big thinkers?
What are you doing to make mobility a reality in your community / school district?

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