What is true mobile independent learning?

5 teaching classics I won’t be using next year. 

1. Classroom Projection

Have you ever been to the cinema to watch a kids movie? A multi-million dollar Hollywood budget is not enough to keep every eye on the screen! So why would I bother to use this form of delivery with 30 teenagers? If they all need to see something then like “real” people do in the “real” world, I issue the link and they watch in their own time. Independent learners find it frustrating to be told to stop their schedule for something. Dropbox sharing and Twitter/Facebook Groups have replaced the need for me to project anything except, ironically Hollywood Film clips (copyright) but many can be found on Youtube and your school system might stream video files to the mobile devices…maybe? I don’t use film clips.

2. Homework

Homework is proven to damage family life but really there’s no such thing for mobile learners who manage their own work schedule. My results have been much better and of higher quality since I offered “Flexitime” to all my students. Learning objectives are set and a timeframe issued, end of story. Students enjoy the freedom and feel far more obligation to get the work done. It is now after all their work, not mine.


3. Worksheets

One-size-fits-all content delivery allows for no creative thought and makes no sense in a mobile world where information is everywhere, anytime. Worksheets as a control mechanism also only made sense in the factory model of education in the 20th century. If the content of 6 worksheets can be covered in a 3 minute documentary, directed and written by the students then…worksheets…really?



4. Textbooks

RestrictIng and not conducive to either creative or collaborative thought and process so….no textbooks. All school material is available online, so no need for them either.
Online, It’s also often more recent, relevant and entertaining too.



5. Whole Class discussion / teaching

Talking content or concept to a whole class never includes or engages everyone in the room regardless of class age, intellect of character so ….no. All content delivery done through Flipped classroom setup to ensure 24/7 availability. I already have students watching lesson videos at midnight because…”that’s the way I roll, sir!” A discussion should be meaningful and to be so, needs to be with a small groups or one-to-one only. Flipping the classroom immediately gives the teacher and student a more meaningful learning environment.
I have discussed these ideas with colleagues and often when they try to argue, for example, that class discussion can work, we do eventually have to agree that there’s always one not listening and to say that most benefit is just not good enough. We are not employed to teach “most” of the students. In general, the overall idea that because we were bored and controlled at school, then current young people will be ok just isn’t going to work. Lets all start to learn and collaborate in the ‘real’ world we actually live in.

8 thoughts on “What is true mobile independent learning?

  1. Hi Richard

    We will be announcing an iBooks Author competition this week at ULearn (ends 31 January) for teachers and students to produce iBooks using IBooks Author.. you may wish to “announce” this to your followers…


    $20,000 to give away…

    … in an attempt to encourage more local resource development.



  2. Wish we have really a mobile platform independent solution that could run on any kind of platform, be it android, windows, apple, and so on.

  3. It sounds utopian. If all students are responsible, autonomic and independent, his ideas absolutely work. However, the reality isn’t. Students work on independence and responsibility through their class.

    1. It can sound utopian if the students have never experienced the independence from a young age. It took my 16-18 year-olds 4 or 5 weeks to get to grips with the freedom and the possibilities. But they do eventually get it. The real issue is that the norm is an expectation that they are reliant on the teacher minute-by-minute and this is a system that’s hard for students and teachers to grasp, when they only know the old way. It’s much more challenging for the students who actually quite like sitting passively in lessons, half-asleep or doing a fixed task that’s been issued to all students, as there’s no real pressure to perform beyond pass or fail task X (A task that wasn’t theirs in the first place). The result is that they don’t care about what they’re learning. I have had a number of real successes and the students are now seriously considering future careers while in class.

  4. Can you imagine if all students have their own iPads or tablets instead of their textbooks, what will they be doing in the class? If students are chatting or browsing things not connected to the class on the internet or playing games, who cares? Teachers never know it. It may work out if the teacher can see on his/her screen what students are doing and give them a personal warning. IPads or tablets instead of textbooks could be toys for students.

    1. I find they play games whenever the work “issued” is not theirs. Once involved in a creative project of their own design, the gaming stops. You only have to ‘control’, if they environment is one the students don’t want to be in. Let them have fun while showing they have watch lesson videos, chatted online on the class forum to fill in gaps and can now prove they understand topics in a fun way, all under their own steam and at their own pace.

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