George E. Hein’s theory that knowledge constructed in the mind of the learner based on their past knowledge fundamentally changes our approach to education in informal learning spaces. Rather than feeding information in a straight, didactic way, emerging technology can give us new outlets for teaching and empowers learners to explore and create their own meaning. In particular, the flexibility of mobile technology allows learners to select their own path through a series of learning activities and to engage with new information that builds from their previous understanding of the world.
But in order to create these learning activities and environments, we must always consider that the focus must be on the learner and their needs. So the question then becomes, “How can technology be used as a tool for the learner to experience and connect with the subject matter that is meaningful to him/her?”
Looking at what Hein suggests, the learner’s experience should be more like an encyclopedia than a textbook. The use of technology can and should allow for a vast area of breadth, but also provide in-depth learning in a subject as well.
However the technology must allow for personalization. The learner can select what topic interests them most and then provide guided avenues for further learning. It is here that the interconnected format of Wikipedia might provide a basis on which to imagine how this format can take shape. Digital natives do not think in strictly linear terms. Their understanding of the world is shaped by connections through many different media outlets. Therfore the technology used in the learning process must allow for these guided connections to happen.