Some of the challenges and experiences of formal education in a Mobile-Centric Society (MCS)


  • Javier González-Patiño Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Moisès Esteban-Guitart University of Girona



mobile-centric society, digital funds of identity, digital literacy, informational age, connected learning.


The aim of the paper is to describe some of the challenges faced by schools, or by formal education in general, as a consequence of today's mobile-centric society (henceforth MCS), the term we will use to denote the new, networked learning ecology that has arisen from the massive penetration of digital media in everyday life. After revisiting some of the ideas of McLuhan and Vygotsky in the light of this new technological scenario, we describe five traits of the MCS and the challenges - illustrated through educational practices - that we believe schools will face if they wish to preserve their function of individualization and socialization. We believe that despite the emergence of the MCS, the main function of the school is still to provide the "box of tools" (a set of psychological instruments, such as reading, writing, mathematical notation, digital literacy, etc.) that enables people to develop their learning skills and life projects and to become part of communities and groups. However, the complexity and mobility of the new learning environments means that the position held by schools needs to be re-evaluated in the face of the informal learning paths and experiences - both online and offline - to which learners now have access. We also need to re-evaluate the meaning of the school itself as an institution and the model of learner it should be training.