In March 2015 it was reported that for the first time in history, mobile-only Internet users now exceed desktop-only users . This landmark in the evolution of the internet represents a significant shift in when, where and how we communicate.
The recent revolution in Smartphones and Tablets are obviously a major reason for this, alongside the supporting mobile data network, but does this mean the death of the desktop? The desktop has been the mainstay of the computer revolution, and other than the depth of the monitor, the shape of a Desktop unit hasn’t changed since they started to go mainstream (albeit they tend to be black with blue lights rather than cream, and obviously feature a lot more processing power). The desktop has always been the solid and reliable means of getting on with the majority of work tasks, however, being tied to a desk has been a restriction; people are now breaking free and taking their access with them. The desktop therefore may start to take its place in history, and gather dust in the back of the store room. Laptops on the other hand have allowed for a degree of portability between home and office, but even these can be a little cumbersome for the bus, or the park. They don’t fit in your pocket, and rarely feature ‘instant wake-up’ that works as effectively as a phone or tablet. Even the lightest laptops still weigh in at around 1Kg, and though it doesn’t sound like a lot, you soon notice carrying it around after a hard day in the classroom or office. All this could point to the fact that users may be happy to compromise the big screen experience for smaller screen instant-on-the-move access.
It would also be easy to dismiss such stats on the basis that communication has changed, and we can easily access social media and chat apps on a phone, so we’re using the internet more in general for such purposes, but on a visit to a College last year it became clear that mobile technology is rapidly overtaking traditional desktop technology within the classroom too. The investment in desktop systems was significantly behind compared to the plethora of mobile devices from laptops to tablets, the purchasing agenda has clearly changed. These mobile devices were facilitating group work, with whole class collaboration rather than independent working.
Providing mobile technology to the classroom is obviously one approach, but this places pressure on the training provider. There has been a great deal of talk about Bring your own device (BYOD) and the potential this has for both work and education. It is unfortunate that recent calls for the banning of mobiles from the classroom and the benefits it brings to grades does not help the e-enabled education cause. Adults and children have mobile devices, why not make the most of this.
BTL Learning and Assessment have seen a rise in the demand for mobile delivery support for assessment as well as that seen for learning. The Surpass Delivery App is a constantly evolving approach, which facilitates on-screen tablet based delivery of summative assessments. Our recent updates to the App are working towards making tablet delivery of summative assessments a reliable and user-friendly experience, whilst ensuring that supporting staff have confidence that delivery and security are at the highest levels.
As desktop usage declines and mobile access continues to grow, it’s a fair assumption that e-assessment will naturally move from the desktop to the tablet and mobile. Perhaps this will be the catalyst that we have been working towards.
To try the Surpass Delivery App on your tablet device, please visit http://www.surpass.com/tablet/