|"Games should be played only in game arcades." Via.|
Something that never ceases to amaze me is how far ahead Japan is in the cellphone industry. Japanese cellphones, or keitai denwa, had the ability to scan QR codes years before any other country had access to the technology, receive and send emails with unique addresses that have practically no character limit, and even watch local television shows with decent quality.
Their uniqueness even inspired the christening of a sociological phenomenon: Japan’s Galapagos Syndrome, "a phrase originally coined to describe Japanese cell phones that were so advanced they had little in common with devices used in the rest of the world”. The U.S. has played catch-up in the last decade with the advent of the smartphones like the iPhone and Droid series, both of which have gained popularity in Japan.
While the proliferation of cellphone culture seems to know no age boundaries, young people especially make up a large portion of mobile media culture in both Japan and the U.S. Some fear kids are becoming consumed by their handhelds and more and more prone to distraction. In Japan, where cellphones are practically given away as very fancy toys to those as young as middle school age, there is concern about children’s susceptibility to cyber-bullying and, worse, internet crimes. It is no wonder these devices are shunned and disallowed in the classroom.
But as technology becomes increasingly more handheld and integral to social engagement, what does the future have in store for educators, their students, and generations of youth?
Tonight’s panel Keitai Kids: Youth, Culture and Social Media in the USA and Japan looks at how mobile social media can be used to better education. The discussion features Tomi Ahonen, former executive for Nokia and a leading consultant on the mobile market, and the University of Tokyo media studies profoessor, Shin Mizukoshi, a proponent of cellphones in education, whose focus is anthropological as opposed to the more common technological stance. Trebor R. Scholz, the summit chair of the Politics of New School's Digital Culture Conference moderates.
The panels is part of The New School's MobilityShifts: An International Future of Learning Summit, a week-long conference bringing together great minds from different backgrounds to showcase how mobile media can be used to effectively teach and learn from outside the classroom.
The event is also a precursor of Japan Society Education Program’s new Going Global initiative, which will connect thousands of school children from Japan, America, and Pakistan through social networking activities and share ideas with each other to work towards a better world.