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I Am My iPhone
April 2, 2014 - 9:00pm

My iPhone is eating my life.

This 4.87 inch by 2.31 inch gizmo accompanies me everywhere but the shower.  

Here is a (probably partial) list of the functions that my iPhone performs.

1. Waking Up: Is your phone your alarm clock now also?

2. Reading E-mail: Do you remember the day when e-mail was discontinuous? When we had to at least be in front of some computer somewhere to catch-up on e-mail?   Now, thanks to the smart phone, we are always on e-mail. And when I say always I mean always. The consequences have not been pretty.  No mental breaks from work.  An expectation of constant communication and instant response. More e-mails.

3. Reading News: The iPhone has transitioned into my primary news reading platform. I read IHE on my iPhone. I read the NYTimes (with the excellent app) on my iPhone. I read TechCrunch, CNET, Engadget, and Reddit on my iPhone.  What news do you read on your mobile phone? The reason that I read news on my iPhones is that I’m less distracted to answer e-mails when on my iPhone.  I’ve come to understand the bad multi-tasking of iOS as more of a feature than a bug.  Also, my news reading is catch-as-catch-can, undertaken in small time chunks at random times of the day.  

4. MOOCing:  This was a surprise to me. I hadn’t expected that I’d want to interact with edX and Coursera courses on the iPhone - but there it is. Perhaps it is how I MOOC - passively. I’m the non-active lifelong learner. The videos are the real value proposition, not the discussions or the assessments (or the certificate). MOOC video works well on the iPhone. Not sure what, if anything, this says about the bigger world of blended and online learning. Probably nothing good. Authentic learning requires much more than I am doing in my MOOCs.  It requires producing, creating, and collaborating - where the iPhone pushes me to consuming.   

5. Reading Books: There are two ways that the my iPhone is a conduit from my wallet to Amazon. The first is audiobooks (Audible is owned by Amazon). The second is Kindle books. I listen to Audible books on my iPhone whenever I am in motion.  Driving, running, walking, dish washing, laundry folding, snow shoveling, and (soon) grass cutting. Most of my Kindle book reading is on my Paperwhite, but if I’m sitting somewhere (saying waiting at the dentist, in line at the grocery), I’ll out my iPhone and read a book on the Kindle app.

6. Watching Video: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and FX (Justified and The Americans) comes through iOS apps. I remember when watching video was a social experience.  When I was a kid this meant watching the evening news, M.A.S.H., and the Cosby Show together. Nowadays, video is almost totally a solitary experience.   Everyone in the family is watching their own shows on their own screens.  You might think that the iPhone is too small to watch movies or TV.  I would have thought so. But I’ve found that the screen size works just fine. 

7. Exercising:  We are at a really weird point in the world of exercise. We seem to be rapidly moving into the age of the instrumented life. I track my exercise on my FitBit app.  (I lost the wristband, but it has not really mattered - the FitBit app on the 5S works great).

8. Controlling Appliances: Ever since installing the Nest thermostat system I am constantly tweaking my home heating on my iPhone. The Nest app lets me create a schedule, look at the history of when the heat turned on, and raise or lower the heat.  We are rushing headlong into an Internet of Things, and all these web connected appliances will be controlled by our mobile phones.

9. Communicating: I’ve never found the iPhone to be a very good phone.  Maybe it is just me, but I don’t really like talking on the thing. Texting, or messaging (I always confuse these two), seems to have taken over talking.  My kids text me.  My wife texts me.  My brother and my folks sometimes text me. Nobody else.

10. Meeting: I’m not actually having my online meetings on my iPhone yet, but I think that this change will be coming. I wonder how quickly synchronous online teaching (say through Adobe Connect) will transition from the laptop to the phone (or the iPad)?

Gaming did not make my list, as I don’t play mobile (or any digital) games. What about you?

Nor does my list include taking photos or videos. I should do this more, I just have never really gotten in the habit. (Except on vacations).

What am I forgetting about in this smart phone taking over the world list?

What are you doing now on your mobile phone that you once did with some other technology?

 

 

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