Usually, passersby would try and ignore this, but eventually someone would instruct the cell phone person to be quieter and more considerate. I feel like we mostly get this now. There really are very few people who still “lose their minds” and talk loudly on their phone in public places. We still do though have trouble with the concept of “multiplicity of place” that these devices enable.
To be physically present with people we are interacting with while at the same time be in “another place” in a digital conversation "grounds us" in more than one place at a time. This can be as annoying as the loud talker or hand gesture guy on the street corner. So this month is dedicated to all of us to remember the importance of balance in our use of these highly connected and powerful communication tools.
Another aspect of our mobile device attachment is the personalization of information. It seems that what we search for, view, interact with and text about is something we think of as “ours” because it is accessed on our personal device. The lines between what is formal and informal in work and education are easily blurred by how we use our “smart” phone.
We have certainly seen the ugly side of this when a co-worker publishes embarrassing Vegas pics to a Facebook page where the boss will see it. lol :) The better side of this is how interacting with information from our formal learning environment (the classroom) in our informal learning environment (our daily lives) makes the learning have a place or context in our lives.
This is already happening and we just need to keep looking for ways to harness the activity. There will always be a need for balance in our use of technology, but the same tool that initially made us all distracted loud talkers in public is now poised to be leveraged by schools. Read my report on mobile device impacts.
By itself, the mobile device is still a very distractive tool, but I feel that the benefit of finding strategic uses in education is huge. So the rest of this month when you see someone being a dummy in public with their cell phone, thank them for the reminder of how impactful these personal devices are and then … remind them it is Cell Phone Courtesy Month.