Kind of similar to the way that context is a construction of time, space, and experience, learning itself is as well. It is a construction (maybe aligning is better here?) of past experience with current need and want. It is building one construct on another and the evaluating that construct based on subsequent experience. Nothing novel here (well documented in constructivism and connectivism), but isn’t art constructive in this respect as well? Mobile serves this construction by providing this in the context of the learning event itself (informal or otherwise). You immediately experience the event in situ and then reflect on it, reconstruct it, recast it as art. Immediate.


There is certainly room for long-term reflective activities, ones that take place over time and slowly sythensize with larger conceptual issues. This requires time, certainly. But the best art, at least as I see it, is art of the moment, capturing that moment in space and time and how it recast the individual’s understanding of their reality (emotional perception). Mobile serves this process by allowing for an immediate recasting of perception via mobile tools (mosaics, photo filters (Instamatic), (micro)blogs (as reflective), even drawing applications. And what about music? Why not score the soundtrack to your life as your life unfolds? There are very few technical constrictions with mobile that would hinder this process. I might be able to squeeze some music out of a synthesizer/piano application even though I cannot play a musical instrument. Why not an audiopost? Remember where you were and what you were doing and how you felt when the pivotal moments of history occur via Audioboo or a Tumblr audipost? Reflect on these feelings at later dates. Cultivate understanding and emotional intelligence constantly.

Nostalgic (aka collective memory)

Mobile can serve as a read (playback)/write device, certainly. As audiocommand technology becomes better (or at times, even usable) I can see this process becoming easier. Playback from a select date or time or categorized by emotion. Reviewing the emotional triggers in life to see common themes or contexts. The development of emotional intelligence. Creating art through the accumulation of events and their emotional signficance. It is just a matter of presenting that as the need arises through mutlimedia mosaics/tapestries/ 3D dioramas and collages. How is that not evidence of learning, these artistic renderings of collective memory?

It is kind of like an emotional wayback machine, charting the emotional and intellectual development of the individual cast against the collective (society). Mobile allows for immediate (I hesitate to use the term Total) recall of that and the ability to layer this together artistically.

Imagine some of the images here, even though they aren’t all that artistic. New York as seen from Google Earth on 9/11, the schematics for the Brooklyn Bridge cast against the incredible human capital required to build it, a mosaic of Castle Clinton (the precursor to Ellis Island) made of views of the Statue of Liberty and immigrants. I can recast my world artisitically this way. For societies to fully embrace lifelong learning, there has to be a write mechanism such as what mobile provides in this context. The ability to creatively recast reality, to write to one’s world.

How is that not learning?


By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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