There's a blog post in the Chronicle this week about programs offering distance learning via cell phone. It's not entirely clear from the piece what exactly these programs or courses look like--clearly, students would not be completing most types of assignments on a cell phone, although there are certain types of assignments they probably could. I wonder how many students will actually use their cell phones to access the course materials (versus just using their desktop or laptop). I can also imagine students starting out eager to access these things via cell phone or PDA, but soon finding they'd rather just use a standard computer. (For one thing, although it's nice to be mobile when studying, there's also, at least for many students, a need for a quiet and comfortable study space in order to learn effectively.)
All that said, there are great ways to help students learn by making course materials available on cell phones and PDAs. The most obvious one (besides putting brief lectures into podcasts or vodcasts for downloading onto these devices) to me is to create, for terminology-intensive courses, electronic flashcards students can flip through to do some casual studying as they ride the Metro or wait for an appointment. What other ideas do you have for using these devices in your teaching? Now that Sue's here, we have the resources to start researching how to make your ideas for teaching via PDAs and phones work.