Saturday, March 26, 2011

Second screens in Life and Learning

I have not thought of it before, but Elliot Masie's description of "second screens" defines what I find myself and my family doeing already, albiet I don't have access to an Ipad or a tablet PC, but his description does meet the bill.

I have a Second Screen in my life.  Well, actually I have several of them:

* My iPad is often on my lap as I watch TV at home. I’ll look up a reference in the news, locate an actor in a movie or read something different during the boring bits.
* My SmartPhone comes out during a webinar, serving as a back channel - either by text or IM - to someone across the world.  And, once or twice, I have used it when leading a webinar to get some background on the person asking a question in a session.
* My Tablet computer, with a 3G connection, gets me to places where a firewalled connection would not let me go, connecting on my own personal network rather than within the gated community of the host network.

And I have seen this in my workplace especially with our production folks. And I have to concur that it definitely has a place in the learning environment especially within corporate entities that lock down their computers to ensure that their networks are not compromised due to the use of third-party unapproved software.

To a certain extent this concept of second screens began before the advent of tablets, especially in the academic world where students bring laptop computers to the classroom to aid in taking notes.

He notes that there are great possibility for leveraging the use of these elements in the learning environment, but they are countered by the issues of bandwidth and firewall issues. I think another issue that still needs addressing is functionality and usability across all major brands of portable devices.

The one advantage paper-based books have over ebooks is that except for the language used to publish the book, they are pretty much universally functional for the bulk of society. The same cannot be said just yet for electronic formats.

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