I’ve posted a few things here in reaction to the idea about banning mobiles in school: tagged: yesmobile.

Here is another reason for using mobile in learning:

I grabbed this video in the park this morning with my phone in the slowmo mode.

I would have though that the ability to do this outweighs the need to address problems of distraction?

A minute from: Raising the Digital Generation in Scotland – Chris van der Kuyl, Entrepreneur and Chairman of 4J Studios at the Scottish Learning Festival

…that is mental, that is absolutely mental that is like saying you cant carry a note book in school they are banned because you could write really seditious and crazy remarks in that notebook…  … to ban it is close to Luddism…

I’m catching up with this keynote from the Scottish Learning festival, here: SLF highlights – SLF 2015 1.

The whole talk is interesting and I’d recommend a watch/listen, but this jumped out.

The Audience seemed to suggest that a quarter to a half for schools banned mobile phones. I’d be interested in that statistic. Also what does ban mean? Does this suggest that half to three quarters allow mobiles for use in learning? That seems unlikely? Is it worse than Chris thinks?

The audio was ripped from Educations Scotland’s video, I am presuming that is ok as Fair UseInclusion for the purpose of news reporting“.

  1. I can’t see an easy way to link directly to the video

Still thinking about mobile technology.

When I was in my teens one of the things I was interested in was natural history. I was a keen contributor to the mammal society records.

To do this when ever I saw a mammal or a sign of one I would take a note. Later on I would complete a record sheet using an ordnance survey map to add the location. Every so often I would post these off by snail mail to the mammal society.
My technology was a pencil and notebook OS maps and a few books on identifying mammals by their bones, tracks and sign. I’ve still got the OS map with faint pencil scratching but the notebooks are long gone.

Now on my phone I have the Mammal Tracker App. Whenever I see an animal or sign of one I record that immediately. I can add a picture and the app will record the location. I send it to the mammal society with the click of a button.

This really lowers the bar for citizen science. I would imagine that this would be a great type of project to run in school.

I see a call for the banning of mobile technology in the classroom is popping up again:

Pupils could be banned from taking mobile phones and iPads into class under a major government crackdown on disruptive behaviour at school.


More than 90 per cent of teenagers have mobile phones, but a recent study by the London School of Economics claimed schools where they were banned saw test scores rise by an average of 6 per cent. There is currently no government policy about mobile phone use in England, as schools have to set restrictions themselves.

from: Mobile phones and iPads could be banned from classrooms – Telegraph

There is no doubt that in the classroom or ones personal life , mobiles can be a distraction. But this could easily be a teaching opportunity. We are all just scraping the surface of using these wee computers. Addressing attention, the social use of mobiles and the like could be an educational experience.

I am constantly being amazed at the power in my pocket. Last week I took a walk along the Kelvin to Milngavie. As I wandered along the phone records my track, analysed my speed, distance ect. I could grab notes, and take photos of interesting things.
If I’d needed to I could have made field recordings and I could have sent all this to a variety of places online for further manipulation. I’ve got a pile of data that can be analysed and shared.

[osm_map_v3 map_center=”55.907,-4.318″ zoom=”12″ width=”100%” height=”450″ file_list=”http://johnjohnston.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/10-09-2015-kelvin-walkway.gpx”]

Compared to only a few years ago this, and many other mobile applications, feel miraculous. The featured image photo, of a hoverfly (I think), is to me wonderful. Not because it is a great picture but because I can catch this amount of detail without being a photographer with the phone from my pocket.

Even this small subset of a mobiles features should surely make it worth the effort of how to minimise any negative effects of mobiles and their notifications. It is early days to be talking about bans.

Maybe advice like #tds75 You don’t need Twitter…. or #tds74 This is why I turn off notifications from The Daily Stillness (@livedtime) might be a start.