Friday 18 December 2009

Living a mobile life? How do you cope?

First I was a nomad, I did not have a house nor passport for two years, moving from one place to another. Then I was house hopping for another three years. Eventually I got myself a house, then I started to learn on top of my work... so all along I had to be mobile. Where the mobility was mostly physical in the first part of my adult life, it quickly became essential for my mental development in the second part of my adult life.

As ubiquitous learning is becoming more obvious, some of you have been writing on the fact that learning has always been mobile, like Michelle Pacansky-Brock linking it to university issues. With this post I would love to hear your mobile life and how you are coping?

For my work I sometimes need to visit partners in the South (India, Morocco, South-Africa...). While I am there, I learn from my colleagues over there, I learn how they tackle certain pedagogical problems and infrastructural challenges. So I guess, at that point I am learning while being mobile, something that explorers have always done. In fact starting from the 17th century mobile learning was all the rave if you were part of the upper class, you went on a Grand Tour to get extra education. And in Africa they had and have people - les griots - who took what they had seen and learned on their travels and routes, the history of the people passed on to them for generations, and delivered that knowledge to whomever wanted to listen to them. So mobile learning is not new, but learning through means of mobile devices is.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was on route and this is how I was learning while being on route or mobile. I am currently following a master in distance education at Athabasca University on top of my work as an eLearning coordinator and researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine. This brings along some challenges, because where ever I go for my job, I need to stay in touch with my learning material as well. On this journey I had: two smartphones (one symbian, one windows mobile and waiting to by an android one), one light weight laptop with me. The trip consisted of a bus ride, four trains (yes, cutting the carbon emission by not taking the plain) which totaled 8 hours of travelling and a cab drive to my hotel.

All in all, here are some mobile learning snapshots... pictures taken with mobile smartphones:

Waiting for the train, so learning on the platform

Shaky while writing the first draft of a paper on the train

Learning next to the queen while waiting on the next train

What is your mobile life like?