Posts Tagged: mobiles

The mobile only classroom (OK, plus a sketchbook)

We’re having a warm discussion in my classes about mobiles: What is it that makes people say “put them away, they’re a distraction” or at least that they are less than laptops as learning tools before they have played with them enough to know if that claim is true or not; if mobiles are disruptive, what is it exactly they are disrupting? Or is the current mode of teaching and learning actually disrupting a future mode that includes mobiles?

So we’ve decided to go mobile only for a few classes to see what we discover about ourselves and out tools. Well, mobile plus sketchbook actually, in keeping with the idea that the best way to take in information is with paper and pencil:

We noted by our habit of defaulting to a laptop for everything and we’re thinking maybe we should consider building deeper tool chest. So, as Dorothy Sayers points out in her wonderful speech, The Lost Tools of Learning, we are going to doodle around with our mobiles to “give ourselves the feel of the tool.” 

We’ll update here as the experiment progresses.

Mobile-only Trial – Day 4

Mobile-Only Week – Day 3


The only thing I couldn’t do was print. I rarely print anything so this was kind of funny to me.

I’m finding that gesture-based apps like Mailbox and Swipes are better than laptop tools for processing email and tasks. 

We’re running a Slack trial and this is turning out to be a boon for mobile work. 

Mobile-Only Week – Day 2


Composed in the WordPress app on my iPhone 6

My Day 2 was a typical admin day, one bookended by meetings and two sessions with IT to help Grade 10s ready their laptops for upcoming provincial exams. I used the time in between to set up the back end for  the new Centre for Innovation and process a ton of email. 

Mobile Only Week – Day 1


Composed on my iPhone.

I’ve decided to try going a week at work using only my phone, an iPhone 6. I maintain that all we need to run a good school is a smartphone and a notebook, that a laptop is legacy of industrial model learning and that mobiles are transformative. 

The signs all point that way at least, and now I want to know where the actual pain points are so I can build a strategy for making the transition to a mobile-first school. I have no doubt that we need a device such as a laptop or desktop for some work, but I’m pretty sure the day-to-day can be done with a mobile phone. 

Like a mad scientist I’m running this experiment on myself first. Mostly, I’m just observing and taking notes. Depending how things go, I’ll bring my students in the next week or so. 

Day One

A typical day with a mix of teaching and meetings.


  • My morning routine of checking calendars, email and social media is unchanged as I do this on my phone anyway. 
  • I was able to take attendance without trouble as our record keeping platform is web-based, though it’s not optimized for mobiles. 
  • I used Google Drive, Evernote and my notebook during our weekly school leadership team meeting. No issues. 


  • Google Classroom won’t let me create assignments on a mobile. There is no work around. This is more an inconvenience as we only use Classroom to handle document naming and filing. 
  • The mobile itself is not as big a limitation as only having one device. I usually work with two or three in my classroom.