Teaching in the Wireless Cloud. Students equipped with mobile and wireless devices are reshaping the classroom environment. Spaces structured by static rows of computer desks, with screens or bulky monitors blocking views, are increasingly obsolete. Instead students can sit where they like, depending on the instructor's flexibility. A class can change quickly from a lecture to a small group discussion or lab format, while retaining the full powers of computer-mediated communication. Instructors project notes on a wall, talking through a sequence of points, then break the class up to pursue team projects or discussions. In my experience, learners quickly arrange themselves in ways conducive to their comfortable conversation and writing, rather than following the dictates of pre-arranged furniture (which is often hostile to the best learning).
As educational spaces change, so does learning time. The traditional class works on a two-step information access schedule, alternating between an isolated classroom and an out-of-class connection to the full world of information via libraries and the internet. Always-on connectivity allows learners to blur those two modes, hitting the internet on demand or in mid-discussion, texting classmates (and instructors) at any time. [Smart Mobs]