A 5 country brain dump

I find myself sitting here in Kota Kinabaul, Malaysisa reflecting on what has been a 5 country, I don’t know how many presentation, month. From Bahrain to Iowa with Asia and Australia in between, it’s been an amazing month of travel and I find myself thinking and reflecting on all I’ve been talking about and learning along the way. So here’s my brain dump of themes that keep emerging for me: The future is mobile Whether in the heartland of America, or the deserts of the Middle East and Africa, moble phones are the future of connectivity. We’re also seeing this with Apple’s iPad and the ability to connect to a 3G connection. My guess….every mobile device in 3 years will have the built in ability to connect via a celluar network. We’re already doing this, but it will just become part of the hardware of every mobile device. What this will do to/for places like Africa and a large part of the developing word I can only imagine…….but it excites me. Society expects us to be connected I’ve been preaching this everywhere this month as it came out of the TED Talk I did back in September. i think we need to stop making excuses for all of us spending to much time connected and just realize this is now the world we live in. Once we own this fact then we can start having some deep discussions around how do we teach in this new society, how do we communicate, and how do we live in a world that is constantly connected? We continue to have conversations about being “balanced” and I agree that we need to find ways to get off the computer and get reconnected with nature. But balance in the term of 50/50 is not going to happen and it hasn’t been that way for a long time. TVs are in our homes, gaming systems have been around now for 30 years, and we all have a cell phone or soon will. We are now in a time where being connected is the norm and being disconnected is not. We need to make this shift in our thinking. We need to consiously think about disconnecting, taking trips with no connective devices, which goes again societies rules right now and that’s what makes it difficult. A goal of every family should be to take 1...

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5 Billion Cell Phones and Poverty

A report out last Thursday from the United Nations as reported by Fast Company looks at the mobile subscription rate word wide. I haven’t read the whole article but some of the quotes that Fast Company have are pretty interesting. There are about 25 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people in the least developed countries (LDCs), according to theInformation Economy Report 2010. That’s up from just 2 per 100 a few years ago. From 2% to 25% in a year…..is it just me or is that some rapid growth? But not all is rosy. The report warns that the opportunities are “unevenly distributed and not always sustainable.” Yes…but with growth rates like that and no sigh of it stopping I think this will even out. When I was in Laos I witnessed this first hand. In some of the rural areas we hiked through whole villiges would chip in to by a cell phone. It was their connection to the villages round them and into the city to find work and a market for their goods. I’ve been saying this for awhile now. The future is in mobile phones. The more I travel the world and see just how connected we are via cell phones the more I’m convinced this will be the true 1:1 device. Now what are we doing in our schools to help those fortunate enough to have a cell phone now prepare to work in a world where potentially everyone is...

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What I learned from Laos

Yawn……stretch…..nothing like a week off relaxing to get the creative juices flowing. Spring Break is now over and we’re in the home stretch here in Bangkok with 7 weeks of school to go before summer vacation starts. Over Spring Break, my wife and I spent four days in beautiful Luang Prabang, Laos (pictures can be found here). While in Laos, I learned a couple things that I’d like to share with you. 1. How to keep your cell phone dry during Songkran Songkran is New Year’s in South East Asia and it typically calls for country wide water fights. No better way to celebrate New Years in 100+ degree heat than to have a huge water fight. Nobody is safe, and your cell phone is definitely not safe if kept in your pocket. But while riding a bike or motorcycle if you keep your phone high you’ll keep it dry. While riding in a Tuk Tuk, I kept my iPhone in a plastic bag…worked great! 2. Cell Phone technology is the future of wireless So here I am in arguably one of the poorest countries in South East Asia and at the morning market, I happen upon this shop selling cell phones. The cheapest one sells for $22.45 and the most expensive one for $35.44. The phones had the following features: Calls SMS MMS Camera Radio (both AM and FM) Weather Cell service plans are very cheap as well. I didn’t actually price out complete plans but a SIM card to get you started with basic calls and sms sells for $5. In many of my presentations, I talk about the future is truly in the palm of our hands. According to the International Telecommunication Union, there are 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide and we are on pace to pass 5 billion this year. There are just about 7 billion people on the plant. Or in other words just over 70% of the world’s population has a cell phone. Now these phones are not iPhones, but if I was a betting man I’d say within 5 years we’d see phones at this same price that have internet capability. What happens when farmers in Laos have access to information without going to the city for internet access? Just ask Kenyan farmer Zack Matere what the cell phone and Internet access means to him. I’m sorry to break the news...

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