One of the topics of this weeks MobiMOOC involves people sharing their list of mLearning tools. There has been an interesting mix of hardward and cloud-based content management solutions presented. This got me thinking about my mobile device list, so I thought I'd share it with you. Below is my mLearning device collection (I've listed them in order of size smallest to largest):
- iPod Shuffle. This is the smallest and most portable of my mobile devices (about 1 inch square). In addition to music, I use it to listen to podcasts when I cycle or go to the gym. I do not take it with me everywhere – I only use it when I'm exercising.
- iPod Touch. I bought this largely because I was having iPhone envy and couldn't justify the cost of the iPhone. It is a reasonably priced portable Internet device and I thought it might be useful for classroom teaching (I still do and I know a grade 3 teacher who loves the iPod Touch for teaching). Unfortunately, the camera on it is a real disappointment. At the time I purchased it, I had not yet figured out how to update my Android Phone, so the iPod Touch gave me portable Internet access with longer battery life.
- Android Phone. I have a love-hate relationship with my Android Phone. I love portable Internet, and I love Swype – which is why I'll stick with Android, but I hate my phone. The GPS on my phone doesn't work (it doesn't find satallites), and the microphone and speaker suck, such that it is almost unusable as a telephone without an external headset. I use it mostly for the Internet when I'm on the bus or on the go, taking voice-to-text notes when I'm out walking (that is when I usually find my muse for academic writing), and texting my husband.
- Digital Camera. I almost didn't include this, because most of my other devices have built in cameras – but in reality, I do find that I often use my digital camera to take pictures of documents. I then insert the SD card in my desktop (Mac Mini) to extract the image of the documents and attach them in Evernote. I could use my phone, but the camera isn't quite as good, and transfering the file it a bit of a pain. Sometimes, it is just easier to use the old fashioned, physical transfer method.
- Kindle. When I bought my iPad, my Kindle sat on the shelf collecting dust. It wasn't until a few days ago that I dusted it off again. After reading reports about the effects of tablets and other back-lit devices on sleep, I have decided to stop using my iPod Touch or iPad for bedtime reading, and now I use my Kindle. The other advantage to this, is that the Kindle isn't the greatest device for annotating (I have a pretty old Kindle), but it is great for reading novels. So, now I have put aside any sense of work before bed, and I use my Kindle to read a novel. So far, so good.
- iPad2. I have already waxed poetically about my iPad here, so I won't do it again. Despite my "justification" for a new iPad, I still only have an iPad2, 16GB Wifi. I was disappointed that the Apple announcement didn't involve a re-fresh of the Third Generation iPad, as I want one that doesn't heat up. Once that comes out, I'll be upgrading to an iPad with more memory and 4G – as my research takes me to places where I don't necessarily have wifi – plus I'd much prefer to use my iPad for navigating than my tiny phone!
- MacBook Air. mLearning purists might not consider my 11 inch MacBook Air a mobile device, but I do. I specifically sold my MacBook Pro because it wasn't mobile enough (it was too heavy and big). They do indeed make purses specially designed to fit the 11 inch MacBook Air, so the definition that involves "fits in purse" still qualifies :). I find that most of the time, I only need my iPad, but when I want to use a projector (for example conference presentations), I need a device with a more robust and reliable VGA connection. So, I now have my MacBook Air for those times when I need more than my iPad can give.
I'm amused that my Apple products are listed by specific name, and yet my Android and Camera don't have a manufacturer associated with them. My list is rather Apple centric. I'm not anti-PC, it is just that I made the switch to Mac when I started my PhD in 2011. Once you enter the eco-system, it makes it easier to choose your devices, as there aren't that many to choose from. I wanted a small, portable, laptop. The only choice was the MacBook Air. If I were to consider a netbook, that would require significantly more time and effort researching the devices in order to choose an appropriate one, and then there is alway a risk that it will suck (my last netbook sucked). This brings me to my current issue with my Android Phone. I need to update. I don't necessary need the latest generation, but I need one that works better as a phone (without the need for a headset), and one that has a good GPS. Ideally, I want an unlocked phone that works in Europe and North America (and pretty much everywhere else). If you have suggestions, please leave me a comment.