While here in the United States the number of computers still outstrips the number of cell phones, in the rest of the world it is not that way. Of the 7 billion people in the world, a whopping 4.1 billion are now wirelessly connected. In many foreign countries, this means that the only Internet connect many people have is a cell phone.
MOBILE COMMUNICATION HAS MANY ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNICATION
The fact that more than 6.1 trillion text messages were sent in 2010 suggests that there may be a place for short message system (SMS) or other cell phone use in the education of our youth. A recent article in T & D magazine, quoting from a study done for the United Kingdom's leading e-learning company, emphasizes that mobile communication has many advantages over other forms of communication. The key mobile learning benefits are: it is more convenient, it is more relevant, it can take place during down time, it eliminates technological barriers, it empowers learners, it enhances content retention, it enables speedier remediation, it leads to improved learner confidence, it results in better professional judgments, it makes for easier evidence collection, it encourages reflection, and it affords numerous social learning opportunities.1
If you couple the fact that those in lower economic strata are more likely to have unlimited texting plans and better phones than those in other levels of society, it makes sense to consider education via cell phone. Of course, convenience is the major reason for considering educating your clients via short messages on a mobile platform. Think about it. Then ask a few teens what they think of the idea!
Jerry Thacker, B.A., M.A., is President of Right Ideas, Inc., and Publisher of At the Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Norman, N. (2011) "Mobile Learning Made Easy," T & D Magazine, December Issue.