Laptops look rather quaint now.

Update: @Timothy_Hughes posted this link to an amazing, pocket-sized molecular spectrometer and connected smartphone app. Like the Morholio project below, this points to a day when we can get students out of the classroom.

This is an extraordinary exploitation of a mobile phone by the folks who brought the very slick Morpholioapps suite of creative apps for the iPad. While watching, I remembered very recently I caught myself looking at my Macbook Air, not even a year old yet, and thinking, “How quaint!” It is the best laptop I’ve ever used, arguably the best laptop, full stop, but, it suddenly occurred to me, it is still the legacy of the typewriter. The one thing that makes my Air great is the web.

But, the thing that web great is a mobile device.

I understand that for most of our schools–all that I know of, in fact–a laptop program is still the first step. We’re just not ready yet to let go of this old technology. But even as we are building our laptop programs, we need to be having a very serious discussion about how we will implement our mobile programs, or we are going to be caught flat-footed, again. The world is going mobile:

device sales

selling price by device

Source for both images:

Indeed, a laptop program doesn’t ask us to really change our pedagogy. The same one we’ve been using for 200 years works pretty good on the device so rolling out a even a 1:1 program is comparatively easy. But mobile-based teaching/learning both enables and requires a significant change in pedagogy and methodology.

I get asked all the time, “Laptop, tablet or smartphone: if you could have just one for your students, which would it be?” The answer is, without hesitation or qualification, a smartphone. My second choice would be a tablet, like the iPad. My last option would be a laptop. You just get way more leverage from a smartphone (a topic for another post.) It will be mobile technologies that we will later call the catalyst for the educational renaissance.

If you don’t think so, just watch the video.

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