Wednesday, April 7, 2010


(Courtesy of Alan Cleaver

In my Spanish IB classes, I teach a unit about Addictions to Technology in Spain. It is quite interesting to my students that people across the ocean are just as or even more “addicted” to their technology tools, namely cell phones (“móviles” in Spanish.) One might consider the scenario worse in Spain, as their fees are higher than those typically paid here in the U.S.

Personally, I consider my laptop as the computing device that is an extension of who I am. It actually belongs to my school, and I rent it out each summer in order to continue my search for new knowledge and tools during the long break. I have utilized it at home in my quest to master MovieMaker, to maintain Ning social networks, to play around with Voki, to watch and upload videos on Teacher Tube, to follow leading Instructional Technologists on Twitter, to explore and share on blogs, to create Scavenger Hunts, etc. I have actually given up watching television in the evening in lieu of investigating education-related websites.

I have spent many years tutoring Spanish for additional income, and I always bring my laptop. Panera and Crispers are Wi-Fi hotspots where I have frequented. Even my youngest son and I have played computer games on my laptop at the local Panera while we shared a bowl of soup. I initiated a Technology Consortium this year at my school, and I hook up my laptop to the LCD Projector in order to introduce and discuss new Web 2.0 tools. I present at area schools sharing my technology expertise in the realm of student-friendly Web 2.0 tools, and again I tote my laptop. Even when going on a cruise out of the country, I bring my laptop.

So, yes, I guess you would call me “móvildependiente!”

As for using mobile computing devices in disadvantaged or underdeveloped environments, they would appear to facilitate improved learning. Owning a cell phone is uncommon in countries with poor populations. “The flagship ITU publication Measuring the Information Society notes that two-thirds of the world's cell phone subscriptions are in developing nations, with Africa, which has a 2% subscriber rate as recently as 2000, growing the fastest. (World Bank 2010.)” As I read the EduTech blog from, it is noted that cost plays as an important factor in structuring mobile computing systems in underdeveloped countries.

Disregarding the cost details, similar results from development of 21st Century Skills appear in students from underdeveloped countries too. For example, players from over 130 countries play an online game called Evoke. Here they “form their own innovation networks: brainstorming creative solutions to real-world development challenges, learning more about what it takes to be a successful social innovator, and finding ways to make a difference in the world (Hawkins 2010.)” The use of mobile computing devices will benefit students from all backgrounds. The question is will the poorer people of the world be given such tools in order to maintain similar learning levels, and perhaps will we truly collaborate so that solutions emerge.

Current References:

World Bank. (2010). The Use of Mobile Phones in Education in Developing Countries. Retrieved from website at,,contentMDK:22267518~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:282386,00.html

Hawkins, R. (2010). EVOKE -- When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion. EduTech:
A World Bank Blog on ICT use in Education. Retrieved from

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