Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Mobile phones in the Classroom

Monday, December 7th, 2009

A recent article in the Times Higher Education Supplement outlines the ways in which mobile technologies are beginning to become much more widely used in the classroom. The piece challenges widely held view about the role of mobile technology in the classroom situation and notes that many schools have overturned bans on the use of mobile phones in schools in recognition of their untapped potential to support learning. Projects at Sheffield College approach this from a contractual point of view, asking students to sign up to codes of behaviour for proper use at the start of each year.

Suggestions for manging the use of classroom mobile technology:

* Identify and support champions – volunteer teachers who are prepared to take some risks.
* Initiate discussions about using mobile phones for learning (perhaps using pupil voice work) and survey ownership, device capability and the ways mobile phones are already being used in the school.
* Involve those who have responsibility for curriculum, student management and technical support to plan how they will be used.
* Provide hands-on, small-scale opportunities for teachers to try out appropriate uses for mobile phones.
* Encourage teachers to design activities that make the learning purpose clear and to anticipate management issues at the classroom level (such as rules and etiquette).
* Inform parents of the learning purposes for mobile phones and involve them in establishing appropriate ownership, management and ethical arrangements.
* Anticipate and address technical issues ranging from battery-charging to network access, security and data protection.
* Develop new school policies that shift the focus of attention away from the device to the uses, security and behavioural issues that are the real concern.

Link: Pockets of Potential

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Carly Shuler draws on interviews with mobile learning experts as well as current research and industry trends to illustrate how mobile devices might be more broadly used for learning. Examining over 25 handheld learning products and research projects in the U.S. and abroad, the report highlights early evidence of how these devices can help revolutionize teaching and learning. Pockets of Potential also outlines mobile market trends and innovations, as well as key opportunities, such as mobile’s ability to reach underserved populations and provide personalized learning experiences.

The report highlights five opportunities to seize mobile learning’s unique attributes to improve education:

1. Encourage “anywhere, anytime” learning
Mobile devices allow students to gather, access, and process information outside the classroom. They can encourage learning in a real-world context, and help bridge school, afterschool, and home environments.

2. Reach underserved children
Because of their relatively low cost and accessibility in low-income communities, handheld devices
can help advance digital equity, reaching and inspiring populations “at the edges” — children from economically disadvantaged communities and those from developing countries.

3. Improve 21st-century social interactions
Mobile technologies have the power to promote and foster collaboration and communication, which are deemed essential for 21st-century success.

4. Fit with learning environments
Mobile devices can help overcome many of the challenges associated with larger technologies, as they fit more naturally within various learning environments.

5. Enable a personalized learning experience
Not all children are alike; instruction should be adaptable to individual and diverse learners. There are significant opportunities for genuinely supporting differentiated, autonomous, and individualized learning through mobile devices.

Read the full report here or download the executive summary.

Mobile Technology and Pre-Schoolers

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

An interesting article from describes the kind of generational shift that is taking place with respect to the uptake of new technologies.   The iPhone in particular in singled out for being intuitively accessible to infants, lacking a keyboard or mouse and being operated with a touch screen.

These “mobile kids” are the purest breed yet of natives to the wireless world where the rest of us are refugees. Their fluency with technology and expectations of instant access to everything will eclipse even those of their older siblings and cousins, the “digital kids” weaned on desktop computers wired to the Web.

But in addition to being irresistable to young children, mobile technology can actually promote their development. The article draws on Piaget’s model of cognitive development to show how mobile technology has advanced to the point where it can bring real pedagogical benefits.

“The future that we envisioned for so long is finally starting to happen,” says Warren Buckleitner, educational psychologist. “I’d love to bring Piaget back from the grave and give him an iPhone.”

Read the full article here.