Well … the iPhone 4 is about to come out and it looks like for the 1st time, we can interact like the Jetsons! Video phone calls are no longer in the future. I know, you are thinking about applications such as Skype and other videoconferencing applications that have been available for a long time but these have all needed at least a laptop and/or a wired connection. They have not allowed for full mobility like a phone. The power of the mobile device allows us to be (almost) anywhere and bring others along with us. As with all technologies, it will take a while before everybody has access to this type of technology but it will be coming soon to all mobile phones I suspect. It is only a matter of time.
So … the question is … how does this affect social presence in online learning? What does it mean if a teacher/professor can be (almost) anywhere and connect with their students? What does this mean for classrooms connecting with experts in the field as they climb a volcano or investigate the Amazon? These questions are rolling around in my head as I craft a paper about social presence in online learning. We no longer need to just rely on just text and/or voice. We can now see the facial expressions and body language as we study or work together. And … we can do it from (almost) anywhere.
If you haven’t seen the video of how this is suppose to work, please take a look. I have embedded it to the side of this post. It is really cool and you get to listen to some great music from Louie Armstrong, one of my favorites. Enjoy!