The 4th Screen

If the last three seconds of this video were cut, I don’t think most people would think most viewers would recognize that it is ultimately an advertisement for a Nokia phone.  I certainly didn’t the first time I saw it.  My students didn’t when I showed it to them.

The video pushes the premise that we are in the age of the 4th Screen.  The first screen was the shared experience of films shown in theatres.  The second screen, the television, came into the homes of private viewers.  The computer, but, more specifically, the Internet, heralded the age of the third screen which turned the screen into an even more individual or solitary experience.

And then came the 4th Screen.  And, although this video is specifically an advertisement for Nokia, I think you could make the claim that the 4th Screen encompasses all smart mobile devices.

The basic premise that we are in the age of the 4th Screen…I completely agree with it.  However, there are some aspects of their premise that I really have to disagree with.  In some ways, I think the pocket device, take-it-with-you-wherever-you-go, get-back-out-in-the-world, promotion-of-the-social isn’t quite as strong as Nokia presents.

Yes, pocket/mobile devices can do all of those things.  But, for the most part, they aren’t.  I think the most common image of a pocket device in the hands of someone is one with that person’s head down, face illuminated by the blue glow of a screen, earbuds closing them off from even the sounds of the world around them.  And is that really the presented premise of the 4th Screen in Nokia’s video?

On the other hand, I think it’s amazing that we have devices that can do all of those things and that they’re small enough to fit in our pockets!  What power!

What does this mean for librarians, for educators?  I think it says that we need to promote the possibilities that exist with these devices.  I know that I personally don’t even touch the tip of the iceberg of what is possible with the devices that I have in my hands.  I wonder how many of my students don’t either.  How do I create an environment in the library that promotes play to learn?  How do I accommodate the possibilities?  How do I make the library a space where we all (students, teachers, and other community members) can have conversations about the learning that we’re doing?

Despite the fact that the above advertisement was released in 2007, I don’t think we’ve come close to the warm fuzzies that Nokia claims their 4th Screen brings.  But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be in our future!


The true irony of this post?  I’ve written it on a mobile device, in the most social part of my library…with my earbuds in, cutting me off from the rest of the activity and noise of the library, and doing the solitary business of my online grad school work.  Or perhaps it just proves my point.


About msbecs

An incomplete but alphabetical list: Believer. Daughter. Friend. Learner. Librarian. Sister. TCK. Teacher. YA Literature Devotee.

Posted on 02.18.2013, in Critique, FPU, In the Library. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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