Monday, March 28, 2011

Second Screens - Unofficial Learning Devices?

Elliott Masie writes in his latest Learning TRENDS post about Second Screens - Unofficial Learning Devices? In this very interesting post he describes how the iPad, SmartPhone, and his Tablet computer have become learning accessories in every day activity. For example - he says that his iPad "is often on my lap as I watch TV at home" so that he can "look up a reference in the news, locate an actor in a movie or read something different during the boring bits". He uses his SmartPhone during a webinar, "serving as a back channel - either by text or IM - to someone across the world". While his Tablet computer, with a 3G connection, gets him to places where a fire-walled connection would not let him go so that he can connect "on my own personal network rather than within the gated community of the host network".

Image from MasterNewMedia.Org.
This is cool (from one of the coolest guys on the planet!). Most of us would think of an iPad/SmartPhone/Tablet not as a learning tool, but as a quick way to get on-line and look stuff up. What we don't realize is that we are learning - I sometimes use my iPhone to look up information on actors in a movie, or to get more information on a historical event if watching a documentary. My daughters do the same thing - all the time! Sometimes they even watch a video on their laptops and TV at the same time.

Masie points out that there are many implications of "Second Screens", including:
  • People are using their Second Screens to continually enhance, contextualize and expand the CONTEXT side of CONTENT that is being viewed
  • Learners will have access to more back-channel and secondary content, context and opinion as they engage in learning
  • The firewall as we know it will become much more porous, at least in blocking outbound traffic at work.  My Second Screen can go where the First Screen cannot
Clearly Masie has identified some challenges as well as many benefits of "Second Screens". Is is clear that with the availability of ubiquitous devices like iPads and SmartPhones that learning can truly take place anywhere and anytime. 

You can subscribe to Elliott Masie's Learning TRENDS here, and join almost 60,000 learning professionals from all over the world - it is well worth subscribing.

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