The “Cell Phone” Projector

Engadget recently had a post on the new Texas Instruments cell phone projector. It is only a prototype but they hope to have a working model out by next ??? (The version that will actually work in a real cell phone handset is still in the lab).

The reason I blogged this is becuase I believe this will be a major jump forward for cell phones and their use in education and particularly in educational institutions. Imagine the possibilities as cell phone networks get faster, more and more data/content moves online, the ability to access it anywhere anytime improves, and the ability to share it visually with the masses comes online. I think this is the next logical step. Imagine students discussing a topic, researching solutions, and taking turns showing ideas, all in a small group armed with cell phones and a white wall. (Yes, we can get close to this scenario now but don’t forget your laptop, power cord, high-speed cellular data plan, and a portal multimedia projector.)

The scenario above will be possible with zero oversight from schools and school officials. Students will have their own cell phones, connected to their own network, with their own cell phone plans. What happens when you completely remove us (the educators) as gatekeepers between the students and the information/data/content/ideas/etc? This has started already but this new technology certainly helps to complete the loop. Students have access now but still deal with filters, outdated-hardware, network restrictions, etc.

If we don’t act like designers and facilitators with this technology, and we try to stay the center of the classroom as the knowledge “gatekeeper” where will we be as educatros and what use will students have for us?