Here and Now Learning

John Martin's picture (a great source for recent social media news) reports that Google just added a "Near Me" button to their mobile homepage on Android and iPhone (and I assume also the Nexus One). Clicking on the "Near Me" button brings up search results associated with your location.

Surely, it won't be long before business-focused search results (including the existing consumer-created Yelp-like reviews) will be expanded with other user-created results in the form of a local Wikipedia. This has been a dream of mine now since I blogged about it in 2005. And with the popularity of mobiles now coming in full swing with Foursquare, Twitter, etc. (ARIS), it's gotta be just around the corner. 

Imagine the curricular uses of an ARIS-like field research device that brings survey tools that can immediately and easily connect to large databases into the field or community. Apps like Pocket Universe that show constellations and stellar information based on your location and what part of the sky you're looking at (using the iPhone's GPS, compass, and accelerometer) are already amazing learning tools. Add the ability to map, time, and annotate one's own observations as easily as these new mobile technologies allow, and it becomes clear that "out-of-class" assignments (and the connections between the university and the community) are going to drastically change.

The form factor opens up those "microchunks" of  time to study. While it's difficult to pull out a laptop on the bus, or while waiting for the bus, it's easy to pull a mobile device out. Imagine running through a few Case Scenario Builder cases on one's mobile device while on the bus home from class.

ARIS is Academic Technology's locative connection to the mobile world, but Digital Storytelling could play a huge role in helping students tell the stories of their field work, and projects like Case Scenario Builder could pave the way for preparing for learning scenarios that move education far beyond classroom walls.

No votes yet


John Martin's picture

trying and training

Cook makes a good point that there are big differences here, and that sometimes both are needed. I'd argue that "just-in-time" learning for a marathon doesn't start the at the starting whistle, but the day you decide to run it — probably months in advance, right? I'd cast the alternative option as learning about marathons on the off-chance that you might someday run a marathon. That sort of learning is typically less effective because the learner hasn't boughten into the need for it.

But yes, there are cases where one wishes one had learned ahead of time.

Chris Thorn's picture

Just in time vs Just in case learning

I've always been a big fan of just in time learning, but worry that we lose sight of the trade offs between just in time and just in case. I like this post from John Cook. It helps keep me grounded about where just in time is not a good fit.