connecting educators & enhancing learning
Your reply made me think of a site I just bookmarked. I love finding new apps for the classroom!
When looking for ways to use cell phones in the classroom, I came across a great idea to use on a field trip. You could ask students to decide how they would want to use cell phones to meet the learning goals of the trip. They could chose to Tweet for a scavenger hunt, send reflections to Wifitti, capture pictures with captures to Flickr. This would really engage the students and they would end up learning much more from the trip.
In my CEP810 course we learned about Mobile Learning this week. I am thrilled that the topic of mobile learning is becoming more popular, as I have always wondered why we are not utilizing the technology that our students bring into the classroom everyday. This year I am working in a school that allows students to use their smartphones and tablets/iPads in the classroom. To help my students research of these gadgets I spent some time researching research-based applications.
The two categories I would like teachers to check out on this website are: "Reading Scholarly Articles" and "Recording Notes." Dropbox is the application outlined on this website for recording and saving articles. This app looks great for the classroom and could help students organize on their mobile devices. I also think it is great that taking notes is addressed here. I cannot tell you how many times I have taken pictures of my whiteboards for absent students or allowed students to take pictures of presentations given by their peers. My students would use these photos to help them study and to help them write papers. Mobile devices have cameras, recording programs, notepads, etc. Why not let students use these tools in the classroom?
I think it is a great idea to allow students to use cameras or their mobile phones to take pictures of the material presented in class. I think about myself as a learner, and I would love to have had this as an option instead of writing fifty pages of notes. I like that it can also be used as a review for a test or benefit a student who has been absent. I have always taught at the lower elementary grade level, so students are not coming to school with these devices (yet)! I can see what a benefit they are to the higher grade levels. I take pictures of my whiteboard at work all the time. We will have meetings back to back and need to write down our ideas, so everyone takes a quick snapshot to document the work, and then we continue on to the next topic.
Thank you for sharing the article! I enjoyed reading it.
I am currently working at a New Tech high school in Michigan. The goal is to have problem based learning and tech used as much as possible. We do not yet have 1 to 1 computing so we are sharing computers. Kids have cell phones....and we allowed them in the class for one year. The main problem we had was enforcing how to respectfully use them. Students would have them out at all times texting other friends that were also in class and supposed to be learning. This year we are banning the cell phones in the room until we can establish a school culture that respects the tech.
When teaching science, we needed calculators. I only have about 15 $1 calculators and that was not enough. I asked my principal about letting the kids use their phones for the calculators since most of them now can be switched to scientific style ones. He gave me permission to allow it, as long as I monitor them and they are only using the calculators. I have also had to text a student for their group members. (The one was on a fieldtrip and we needed to know the password for the group project) I allowed the student to use their phone for that reason, one that was "on task"!"
One question I have is how do we allow cell phones in the class when the students want to use them to play (games, music, text, etc). I use mine to take pictures of the students working on their projects, the agendas on the board, communicate with other teachers, etc and the kids are always saying "no cell phones allowed" I am modelling the right behavior, but they are not buying in!
I want to be able to teach, not monitor cell usage! I do think there is a great place for mobile learning. I use my phone all the time, and am always looking for good apps to download!
Most schools restrict student usage of them, or ban their use altogether. You are lucky to work in a school that is supportive. A good place to start would be establish an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) with consequences for misuse and broken rules. Here are a couple of links that may prove helpful: http://sites.google.com/site/netcitizens/home/acceptable-use-policies and http://www.cellphonesinlearning.com/2009/02/21st-century-global-acc...
One thing we have to think about with lots of different instructional strategies or teaching practices is that they will never be fool-proof. This is the same for allowing kids to use smart phones or mobile devices for learning. One key factor is creating a culture in your school that both embraces technology and sets a positive example for usage. If kids see you using your mobile device for work purposes this will help instill work vs. personal usage. Also, before any school can open the flood-gates of mobile device usage, its important to have a management plan. It may not be perfect, but if teachers and administrators are on the same page with a plan for monitoring use and dealing with issues that arise, they won't seem so catastrophic when they do happen.
I tend to agree that students should be allowed to use these devices in the classroom. However, I know many teachers disagree. At our school, next year, we are going to be going to one to one devices where every student is going to either get an iPad or a netbook. I think the reality is that we are not going to be able to keep these devices out of the classroom, in the near future, even if we want to. This is one reason, but not the only reason, why I am trying to embrace these technologies in the classroom. Your post was helpful in my research to use these devices in the classroom.
I am considering setting up a Facebook page for my classroom's use only and after watching the videos and doing the reading on mobile learning, I think I may have a idea of what it might contain besides coming events, assignments/tests/quizzes, etc... I plan to encourage students to post videos, photos, or ideas regarding anything we are learning about in class. It seems that nowadays every kid has a phone, iPod touch or any other form of mobile communication; so why shouldn't they be encouraged to use them as a learning tool as well. If we're learning about Michigan history or geography and one of my students goes somewhere we've discussed, why shouldn't they take a photo, make a video commenting on the importance of the site or some new fact that they learned and then share it with the class through our Facebook page. I think this would definitely be applicable to all subjects and would allow them to use their phone and not get grief for doing so. Any ideas or suggestions to make this an easier task would be appreciated.
I think this is a fabulous idea, Chris! I'm assuming you work with secondary students. Everyone has cell phones and everyone loves Facebook. How motivational and fun this project would be, and a great way for students to use their mobile phones in a creative way. A great collaborative project as well.