Media & Press Media - Text

[PRESS] Seeing Threats? Seeing Opportunities? Social Media, Mobile Technology And The Church @ChristianToday

Have you noticed a drop-off in some of your conversations this week? Yes, Lent started this week, and according to OpenBible, social networking is the number one thing that people tweeted that they were giving up for Lent! This reflects the negative perception of social media that persists amongst many: that it causes us to disconnect from those around us, and that we have become ‘slaves to machines’, but in 2013 Caroline Criado-Perez said

“If we don’t like what social media is presenting us [with], we should look at society instead, not just the tool they communicate with.”

Within the world, and even more strongly in churches, face-to-face is held up as the gold standard against which every other form of communication should be measured, rather than taken on its own terms. For many, however, being able to connect with known friends and family, typically via mobile devices, can be more important than engaging with strangers who happen to be in their geographical vicinity. The most recent Ofcom report indicated that 45 per cent of UK communication (excepting face-to-face) is now undertaken on mobile phones. There’s a certain nostalgia for a time when we all ‘chatted to each other’, but in the past, we buried ourselves in newspapers and books, and now phones.

Read the full article, which was commissioned.


[REPORT] ‘Smartphone by default’ internet users from @Ofcom

Ofcom just published a new report looking a ‘smartphone by default’ users. The report starts:


Ofcom commissioned ESRO to investigate the experiences of ‘smartphone by default’ internet users, and fieldwork was carried out in early 2016. The research project focused on those who conduct the vast majority of their online activities through their smartphone – either through choice or due to external factors limiting their access to alternative devices. The sample contained participants with a choice of alternative devices available to them, and those for whom alternative options were much more limited. Ofcom data show that approximately one in six adults now rely solely on devices such as smartphones and tablets for online access, and the trend is rising: at 16% in 2015, this is almost three times as likely as in the previous year (6%) .

The project aimed to investigate the ways in which heavy reliance on a smartphone could affect digital behaviour and media literacy. Furthermore, it sought to consider to what extent smartphones are enabling, or limiting, when used as a primary device for online access. It is important to monitor these issues, as unequal access to internet services can create new forms of exclusion.

Download the full report (PDF)

Digital Life(style)

Digital and Mobile in General in Uganda #TFBloggers

2013-02-25 11.00.04So, after I’d chatted to Odiirah about her work path and role, we moved on to talk about the impact of digital in Uganda in general, as we’ve naturally been in some of the poorest areas, where digital is not so much a presence as it appears to be elsewhere, although yesterday’s village had a mobile shop, and evidence that more of the villagers had some kind of mobile phone.

Online most people use Skype (although not loads, as the signal is poor and breaks up a lot), and Facebook – a lot! They’ve not really started using Twitter yet, although there’s definitely an awareness of it. The people using these tools are mostly in the towns, and mostly the youth, as those who are older are either not much interested or say they don’t have time for it… people like Odiirah’s dad have been forced onto Facebook, but he hasn’t really got it. Facebook really helps people stay connected with their friends, and people love sharing photos, and in fact seem to share every little thing – certainly no worries about privacy (there’s a sense that people haven’t been using it long enough to see how people could use it in a bad way).

The mobile phone, which has already taken off in a big way in Uganda for those who can afford it (it’s still regarded as a luxury), and new plans are being developed that are leaning more towards data (remember the other day that we paid around £18 for 3GB). Lots of phone networks offer plans which allow free viewing of Facebook, and of status updates (though you still have to pay to update photos),  which encourages people to use their phones more – and they are then more likely to use other paid services.

People are using their phones for voice time – people are on their phones all the time. Those in the villages love the radio on the phone (it’s free), and will put it on loudspeakers for others to hear. Mobile money/banking started in Uganda 2 years ago, first with MTN, but now all networks offer it. Photos and videos are becoming more common and some phones even have TV on them – usually the Chinese phones – which are the poorest quality, but cheap and have extra features (e.g. allow 4 SIM cards, although batteries then don’t last very long). Nokia and Samsung are the original brands in Uganda, and tend to copy the most popular functions. The Chinese phones tend to last only a year, but people tend to prefer something cheap (rather than “cost per wear”) – partly because they are still a luxury, but also because mobile phone robberies are frequent and they don’t want to become a target. In town it’s entirely possible to be talking on the phone and someone will take it.

With regards to other digital tools, computers are still unusual and not accessible to most people, although they are there in towns. In towns there are more computers than elsewhere, and the best schools may have them. If village schools have one, it will be a really old model. Apple laptops are expensive and incredibly rare, although iPads are beginning to come in slowly, but still expensive and owned by only a few.


Harness Student Devices? #BYOD

Listened to this talk live – interesting to see it in the THE:

Students have so many devices: sector must be smart and tap them, says expert. Chris Parr writes

Harnessing the power of the technology that students already have in their pockets could revolutionise the way universities teach – but more research into how best to do so is needed first, a technology expert has said.

Richard Noss, director of the UK’s Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme and professor of mathematics education at the Institute of Education, said he knew of universities in the US that were encouraging students to bring their own smartphones and tablet hardware to lectures.

Such an approach could ultimately mean that universities would “no longer have to buy technology”, thus saving them millions of pounds while creating a more direct technological link to students.

“The machines that everyone enters their educational lives with in their pockets are much more important than just a way to access Facebook,” Professor Noss told the Association for Learning Technology’s annual conference, held at the University of Manchester earlier this month.

Read full story.


What do students want from employers? #Employability

Read more here.