NMC Beyond the Horizon: The Mobile Experience


The future of learning is mobile… but what does that really mean?

The New Media Consortium (NMC), recently hosted a panel as part of their “Beyond the Horizon” series to investigate this topic. NMC is an international community of technology experts, practitioners, and visionaries pioneering research and conversations about innovation in educational technology.

Cuseum’s own Brendan Ciecko moderated the discussion.

The panel included a variety of perspectives and backgrounds:

From the very beginning, the panelists’ enthusiasm for technological advancements in their respective fields was crystal clear. Tune in for an informative conversation about the vast achievements, potentials, and general ideas about future of mobile learning. 

You can watch the full video here.

“Mobile is changing the way we learn, communicate, socialize, and see the world.” were the words to kick-off the conversation. The devices in our pockets are no longer reserved for leisurely and social activities, but can help make learning more personalized, engaging, and traversing.

Here’s a brief summary:

Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a virtual world that users can interact with, while augmented reality (AR) enables users to interact with virtual content in the real world. Both have their place and benefits in the education sphere and institutions have already been experimenting extensively with this new way of offering learning experiences.

Years ago, incorporating these tools endured a high financial cost. Now that the price-point of this technology has decreased, it has become more accessible for educators and students. Cathi Dunnagan at North Carolina State University used Google Cardboard and highlighted the various ways she and her colleagues create VR environments to add a new dimension to their courses.

For Lorenzo Vallone, Pokémon Go was a major phenomenon to reignite the possibilities of AR.

In the world of virtual reality, augmented reality, and even mixed reality, there is an arms race amongst technology companies like Facebook, Google, Sony, Intel, and Magic Leap.

Chad Coerver mentioned that at SFMOMA virtual or augmented reality are not substitutes for experiencing art in person, but can be used as tools to make the museum more of a social and contextual experience. In conjunction with their recent expansion, they announced a new digital technology program this past May.

Location Intelligence

Thanks to iBeacon and other advancements in location technology, gone are the days of aimlessly hunting for resources at the library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jim Hahn spoke about the features of beacons and how they are enhancing students’ trip to the library. The use of these sensors provides a contextual experience of the building based on information we expect to see online (ex. popularly circulating books based on where a student is standing). He also mentioned the idea of “co-location,” where similar items are located next to each other, helping students to find additional relevant resources from those on their list.

Beacons can also be, and are more commonly, used in museums and cultural attractions, which is one of the many benefits available with Cuseum’s platform.

Frictionless Interfaces

Panelists acknowledged the importance of high consumer value, unique content, and seamless functionality, along with keeping up with trends and needs of the user.

Soon will come the day when the barrier to actively deciding to download an app will be significantly reduced; with no “Install” button. As experiences become more contextual and responsive to the physical world that surrounds us, lighter and smaller utilities will be available faster than ever. Less friction, more engagement.

If one thing was consistent across the panel, it was everyone’s feeling that now is one of the most exciting times for mobile as a way to drive new learning experiences. How will you take advance of the new opportunities to leverage mobile for digital learning?

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