Are You Designing for Mobile?

Worldwide, more people have access to smartphones than toilets

When you design learning experiences that include technology, do you design with mobile technology in mind?  I’m talking about all types of tools that comprise a mobile ecology:  laptops, tablets and smartphones.

design smallIf you are a 1:1 school, or a BYOD school, are you intentional about the design of digital learning environments so that they are accessible and supported by mobile technologies?

As an organization, is mobile access/content/presence a set of drivers that you consider when making decisions about what you do and how the world views you?

Are these considerations necessary?  Is it something that schools should thinking about and ultimately acting upon? If your school believes (or is beginning to believe) that learning can take place anytime, with anyone and anywhere, on any device, and on any scale, you should be thinking deeply about mobile.

So, what does it mean to design for mobile technologies across a school ecosystem?  Here are some questions for consideration:

Does your school make use of digital learning tools that are specifically designed to be accessed via all mobile technologies?  Is interoperability guaranteed across all device types?

Is your school developing its own apps for learning? For example, does your library have an app?  Your science department?  Not just a Web presence…I’m talking app, available in iTunes or in Google Play?

Is your school developing a mobile Web experience for your community that projects the expertise and the value that is your school?

These are all important questions, given the growth in ownership of mobile devices, and their increased capability to support learning, and the never-ending innovation surrounding these types of devices.

And it’s not stopping.  For example, how does the emergence of Google Glass change the nature of what constitutes a mobile experience?  How does the concept of “second screen” apply to classroom situations?  What about augmented reality elements in the school that support student learning?  What happens when mobile means more than the three classes of devices I mentioned earlier?  What happens when mobile means connectivity across the “Internet of Things?”

Of course, all of this challenges the model of “schooling” that requires learners to be ready for learning when a teacher provides it, at a particular location, at a particular time, on a particular subject, in an isolated room and with the same people.  Mobile challenges that.  That’s good.

So, do you have a mobile strategy? Would you now consider that mission-critical?  Is mobile learning part of your vision of student learning?

Across your organization, do you have a mobile disposition?

There is a lot to do.  Add mobile to the list.

This post cross-posted at Smartblog on Education.

Comments

  1. David Phillips says:

    I’ve thought a good deal about this. Last year I got serious about building a digital environment for my students. One of my requirements was that whatever we used for my dual-credit senior English class be mobile-friendly so that students could access course info/assignments/resources from anywhere. I settled on Google Drive, Edmodo and Evernote as the tools for the environment in which we worked, and added other online tools and apps for projects we did in class.
    The students loved the change. We didn’t use MS Word at all. We did a good deal of collaboration and used the sharing capabilities of Docs & Presentation quite effectively. Interestingly, I only gave them one assignment on paper, and the next day, they all wanted to know why it wasn’t in Drive so they could access it with their phones, tablets and laptops.
    I have access to a computer lab and I often found students working on projects on desktops, but with the assignment open in Drive on their phones laying beside the computer.
    If we want to reach students where they live and make learning an “anywhere, anytime” proposition, we have to learn to use mobile devices, especially student-owned devices, leveraging the power inherent in the technology.

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