The Death of Personalized Ringtones… the rise of Do Not Disturb…. (aka Leave me alone, I am creating)

Do you remember setting a special ringtone for special people in your contacts list? Remember the thrill of a mobile phone call? The elation over the ping of a text message? The fun you had with video chats on your phone? And now what is the status of your phone? Mute? Vibrate? Do not disturb? Airplane mode?

Initially mobile phones simply took the place of our home phones. Then they got smart and a whole new animal was born. Which begs the questions: Is a mobile phone simply a home phone replacement? Or is it a miniature version of your laptop or desktop? Both? More? 

We should start to think more about the future and speak about mobile devices. After all, Learning, Growing, Communicating, Interacting, and Playing now transcends a “phone’s” typical use case. Further, smart-watches and the rise of AR glasses, will continue to redefine the power of mobility as truly untethered engagement/productivity.

Productivity on mobile devices takes many forms… I love voice typing and I appreciate the ability to work with my synced Google Drive files while on the go. But mobile devices should be thought of as more than simply a mini-desktop workstation. To illustrate, here is a video (below) that shows the exciting past, present, and future of mobile device technology within the context of productivity and engagement. To create the video, I remixed (1) a Harvard Innovation Lab video titled the “Evolution Of The Desk” (2) and Ben Geskin’s “AR Glasses — Desk Setup — Concept 2” video (3)… watch here as the future of mobile technology comes to life! NOTE: when the first video cuts, envision the sunglasses go to your face as AR glasses:

What does this mean for training and learning?

In a recent conversation with Bill Selak, edtech guru and Director of Technology at the Hillbrook School, a very important point about learning engagement and productivity came up: Bill stated “We chose to be a 1:1 iPad school since we believe that when a learner picks up a tablet device or mobile device they are ready to CREATE… much more than if they open a laptop or sit at a desktop computer where the keyboard dominates the space and they fill things in, type, or CONSUME video.” At first I thought this was overly simplistic, but the more I kicked around the point, the more Bill’s words really resonated with me as true.

As an augmented and virtual reality enthusiast I have learned to appreciate the real power mobile technologies hold in amplifying communication and interaction efforts on a whole new scale. Mobile devices have the capacity to augment our productivity, literally to enhance or provide greater impact. For example, using LiDar technology on a mobile device, we can scan real-world images and share them with others or to our laptop/desktop devices for viewing in Virtual Reality or even 3D printing. Lidar imagery can be leveraged to more clearly communicate the intricacies of design, the impact of art, and the iteration of design.

In summary, I frequently find myself working with my mobile device as a tool to measure distance, listen to a podcast, take a course, capture a video, scan a document, etc… all of which my mobile device(s) are perfect for, perhaps more than my other devices. In fact, a text, phone call, video chat request, etc…  is often received as an obstacle to my productivity as they fill my screen with new pop-up windows and alerts. My smartphone is less a phone and more a smart device.


  1. Shippee, M. (2022). Future Of Work: The desktop 1980 to present [YouTube Video]. In YouTube.
  1. tvtarget. (2014). Evolution Of The Desk [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. From Harvard Innovation Labs.

Geskin, B. (2020). AR Glasses — Desk Setup — Concept 2 [YouTube Video]. In YouTube.

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