Using mobile technology professionally and safely

This page offers a list of resources and activities to help students identify professional and safe practices when using mobile technology for workplace learning (WPL):

  1. Unpacking explicit and implicit use of mobile technology for learning and work
  2. Considering safe use of device and content
  3. GPS for WPL resources

Read more about how to identify professional and safe practices…

downloadDownload these sample tasks and activities as a ‘doc’ file.

1/ Unpacking explicit and implicit use of mobile technology for learning and work

While on WPL placement, students require help to identify professional boundaries and fully understand the differences between:

  • formal vs. informal places and spaces
  • learning vs. working activities
  • public vs. private spheres
  • home (private) vs. placement (professional) settings
  • face-to-face vs. virtual interactions
  • anonymous vs. identified information
  • sharing vs. appropriating knowledge

Individual preferences and different levels of organisational acceptance of mobile technology can be better understood by looking at professional bodies’ and host organisations’ policies and guidelines (what is said about the use of mobile technology), observing and enquiring about informal etiquettes, likes and dislikes (how is mobile technology actually used). From these sayings and doings, students can determine how they can and want to use mobile technology professionally and safely on a particular WPL placement.

The following table can help promote the professional and safe use of mobile technologies.[1] Students can use this table to unpack the complex layers of explicit and latent uses of personal mobile devices in a host organisation.


2/ Considering safe use of device and content

The safe use of personal mobile devices includes being aware of what you share publicly online, as this might have privacy and confidentiality issues, but also how you use your device(s).

The following recommendations can be provided to students.

Safe use of devices:

  • When not in use, keep your device locked.
  • To protect against the loss of your device, install a device finder or manager (like Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager for mobile phones).
  • To protect your device from viruses, install Operating System updates and update your apps daily.

Safe online information and content:

  • Protect your personal and sensitive information by using strong passwords or remove or encrypt confidential information.
  • Before you publicly post, think about your audience and the potential impact on others and your digital footprint.
  • Review your posts for appropriateness before making them public.
  • When using public WiFi you might be divulging more information than you think so be aware of the sites you are accessing and the information that you are uploading. Consider limiting yourself to simple searches or use private browsing.

So to be safe and protect yourself online consider:

  • Being discreet and sharing with care.
  • Browsing in private mode.
  • Disabling location functions on your devices.
  • Checking apps and online privacy settings frequently.
  • Using strong passwords (that are longer and include symbols) and not the same for all accounts.
  • Using apps from reputable sources.
  • Periodically deleting your cookies, cached pages, and history.
  • Limiting your personal information stored on devices.

 3/ GPS for WPL resources

For more relevant bite size information, tasks and further reading, refer students to the following links in the GPS for WPL, an online resource for students to navigate the WPL landscape with mobile technology:

downloadDownload these sample tasks and activities as a ‘doc’ file.


[1] West, M., & Vosloo, S. (2013). UNESCO policy guidelines for mobile learning. Paris: UNESCO.