I visited MacWorld on Wednesday, and saw the iPhone. I also watched the podcast (downloaded to my iPod) of Steve Jobs' keynote address at MacWorld. I am ready to order one of those phones today, despite the fact that I just started using a Palm Treo SmartPhone. It's a good thing that the iPhone won't be available until June. Still, as I look at the features of this phone, I see an incredible tool to support learning! It's a tablet PC in the palm of your hand, complete with OS X and wifi access. It has all of the features that I want in a cell phone/iPod/handheld Internet device (for email, web browsing, maps, and searching). How soon will it have voice recognition for voice dialing, like many cell phones do? Will it interface with a Bluetooth keyboard for those of us who find it faster communicating with all of our fingers, not just one? Jobs used a specially-built iPhone with a video board, that projected its image to the presentation screen. Will that adaptation be available?
As I look at this device through the lens of my current research interests, I wonder: Would Apple consider making a version that works without the phone service, but uses the device on a classroom network? I could imagine a lot of ways that this device could be used to enhance learning. Right now, schools are paranoid about cell phones, with many K12 schools banning their use. But these schools also filter the Internet, so that these devices could safely be put into the service of learning. Online simulations, games, learning objects, widgets, blogs, a built-in digital camera to collect images; the capabilities of this device could far exceed the way Palms are currently being used in education today. I could imagine many ways that this device could become the next 1-1 platform for learning. I also see a tool that will support the many stages of ePortfolio development, including collection and reflection.
What do you think?