Is that the best that we can do?
I think we can reset expectations for the most intimate and personal devices that we have in our lives.
I’ve been reviewing some of the new capabilities in the forthcoming the Windows Phone 7 Series. There are three elements that I like for educators and students. I’m confident with these new capabilities that cut-n-paste will be passé shortly.
- Blended Life Experiences: That’s not an official Microsoft term…but it’s the best way to for me to describe the blurring of the lines between life and work. For example, Windows Phone will allow you to see your personal calendar (i.e. Windows Live Calendar) and your work calendar (i.e. Microsoft Exchange) in a single view. The days of missing your daughter’s basketball game or putting more your personal life on your office calendar are ending. The experience design focuses on what you want to get done versus creating artificial barriers with hundreds of apps.
- Johnny Can Read: Microsoft has conducted research and learned that we are spending increasingly more time reading on our phones. (I’m not sure we needed to spend a lot of money of that research.) However, when I zoom in to text on the phone, it typically becomes a little jagged. With Windows Phone, the text is rendered beautifully. This is important as we look at new mobile platforms for learning and digital content. Learners will be able to use their phone for long text passages without eye fatigue or squinting. Hopefully, we can avoid the problems that CRT monitors created for those of us that are fortunate to wear prescriptive lenses.
- Hubs: Windows Phone 7 Series brings together all of the experiences you want in a new concept call “hubs.” There are six official hubs:
- People—easily view and respond to your social networks in one place
- Pictures—easy photo sharing with social networks
- Office—easy access to familiar tools: Office Mobile, SharePoint & OneNote
- Games—play games with friends, with XBOX Live
- Music+Video—simple access to music and video, even Zune Pass
- Marketplace—fun and easy to discover apps
I envision in the near future, we will see “school hubs” created by learning content partners, virtual and online schools, and local school districts. A school hub would connect all of the learning and activities happening on campus. Moreover, school hubs would be location-aware so that they become prominent when the learner is on campus and less so when they are not. The school hub would be connected to the cloud so that updates are seamlessly merged with on-phone experiences. The school hub will replace interactive clickers and allow connections to XBOX Live with game services like “1 vs 100” and real-time achievements that can be downloaded into a teacher’s grade book using web services in Microsoft Excel and send notifications to parents/guardians of their student’s achievements.
Microsoft has assets that span the chasm between consumer and enterprise technologies. It’s a unique position in the software and technology industry. Over the next ten, years we will make the borders between work, leisure, learning, and home less obvious. This generation of learners don’t want their lives artificially separated. They prefer a mesh across all of their domains of interests.
For the Class of 2020, they want a life without walls.
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