Laptops: I use both a MacBook Pro and a HP tablet PC. My laptops are the devices I use most often for reading and responding to email and for writing blog posts, creating documents, rubrics, posting to Facebook and Twitter and so on. I use my laptops for the 3 online courses that I'm currently engaged in and I would say that I use my MacBook Pro about equally with my iPad for editing photos (I use iPhoto on the iPad and Photoshop on the MacBook Pro). I edit movies almost entirely on my MacBook Pro using iMovie. I surf the web for information using my laptops. I'm more likely to choose to read websites on my iPad, however. I have the Kindle Cloud Reader on my laptops, but I can't imagine using them to read a book. Conclusion: I use my laptop mostly as a production tool.
iPad: This is the device I use most for reading. I can't remember the last time I bought a "real" book as I use the Kindle Cloud Reader to download and read books offline. I like the easy access to the dictionary and it's easy to annotate. I enjoy seeing what passages others have also highlighted. I also use the iPad primarily to check the news on the BBC website, to read email and check my Facebook, though I'm more likely to switch to a laptop if I want to respond at length. I edit photos on the iPad. I use it for watching videos. I use it as a map when I want to go somewhere. I use it to check my Twitter stream. Conclusion: I use my iPad mostly as a consumption tool.
iPhone: I use it as a phone, I send a lot of messages especially using WhatsApp, I listen to my voicemail, I use it to get calendar alerts, I use it as an alarm clock and to check the time. I take photos especially using some of the apps (Pro HDR is my favourite). I check the weather. I use the calculator and currency converter. I use the map when I'm out somewhere and don't have my iPad. I have used it to read whole books (for example while I'm commuting). I listen to music on it. Conclusion: I use it mostly as a communication tool, but also as a handy way to consume information when I'm on the move.
Camera: I have a point and shoot camera which I keep with me most of the time too. I use it for taking photos (the quality is much better than the cameras on the other devices as I can change the settings/mode to get the effect I want). I use it to take video too - I have completely given up using my video camera.
As I started to make this list I asked myself, which of these devices could I most easily do without? At the moment we are allowing students one device that connects to the school network - how would I feel if I could only use one device myself? The iPad is my most recent purchase so I suppose that would be the one I would choose to give up. I could do without any of them I guess as I could do whatever I wanted to do on the other devices, but that wouldn't necessarily be my choice. My phone is the device that is with me the most (constantly, day and night) though it's not necessarily the one I spend most time using during the day. I have become so used to having all these devices and choosing whichever one I want for the activity I want to do. As I'm writing this post (on the MacBook Pro) I actually have both the iPad and the iPhone on the table beside me. During the time I have been writing this post, I have sent and received a few messages using the phone and checked tomorrow's weather on the iPad.
This year's Horizon Report predicts that mobile learning is only 1 - 2 years away from becoming mainstream in the classroom. One of the advantages of students bringing their own devices is that they are developing their skills on devices that they are already familiar with. For most students I'm assuming the device that they wouldn't be without is their phone - what Mimi Ito describes as "the primary portal for social communciation". This week we are going to survey our Middle and High School students about devices that they have and use already. We'll be using the results of this survey to plan our BYOD Device 2 prototype.
Photo Credit: Texting in the Park by Jeffrey Potts, 2011