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Are you designing for mobile?

3 min read


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.

If 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 think about and ultimately act 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, and showcases student learning and accomplishment?

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 that’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 where mobile devices are used?  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 to everything 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?  How would you design a mobile experience that supports student learning and community connectivity to your schools, anytime, anyplace, and on any device?

Across your organization, do you have a mobile disposition?

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

David Jakes (@djakes) is a Digital Learning Strategist for Cannon Design and The Third Teacher Plus in Chicago, Illinois. He is a veteran educator with 27 years of experience in the classroom.