Mobile Learning

Knowing and understanding my students use of mobile devices in certain situations helps me know how I can implement daily mobile learning in my classroom. All of my students have mobile devices (either laptops or IPads) with internet access. They use these devices for at least one hour every evening after school and a lot more frequently on the weekends. Many of them chat with a friend or family member regularly using a messenger app (like WeChat) or play games.

Our school as always has issue with how to manage and control the use of mobile devices on campus. Being a boarding school students are not allowed to have mobile devices on their person when they are in their dormitories. Students must leave their IPads or Laptops with their homeroom teacher in a designated safe. Mobile phones are not permitted any time on campus and there are strict rules and consequences when students manage to sneak them on the grounds.

As for Innovative Teaching Practices and Technology only a handful of teachers (which happens to be foreign teachers) know how to use technology in the classroom. In many cases their mobile devices are being misused by students because teachers are not carefully monitoring them. This leads to the argument of are mobile devices really useful in the classroom. Using mobile devices in the classroom properly can be done but you need to address some guiding principles for it to be successful.

  •         How much time will it take to integrate technology into this lesson? How much time can I set aside to introduce the activity and the technology needed? Is this time well spent?
  •         Have I used the app I’m planning to use with my class before? Have I spent enough time fooling around with the app myself? Have the students used it before? Do I need to give a tutorial?
  •         Have I made my plan for phone use clear? Was I specific in planning out how the students will use their phone? Is there room for creative use in a different way if a student knows of a different program/app to use? Have I clearly defined my expectations?
  •         Have I assigned project leaders? Have I chosen students to be the experts of this app so I have more helping hands walking around to ensure the project goes well?
  •         How is a mobile device enhancing the lesson? Is it a means to achieve the learning objective? Am I using the phone to promote 21st century skills?

Here are some explanations of why, and how, I would implement mobile devices into the classroom:

Collaboration. Another great way to integrate devices into the classroom is using chat programs to get discussion flowing and questions answered. A teacher could have live threads for questions as a way for students to post their questions without disrupting the flow of the class. If another student knows the answer, they could post it and share their knowledge with the rest of the class. There are also those really engaging topics that students just don’t want to stop talking about. If they have a forum to continue discussing online. It allows for students to engage more thoroughly with the topic and they could continue discussions into the evening hours if they choose.

Student Based Research. Alternatively, some of the questions that students have are simply understanding a word or needing a visual aid to help reference what a teacher is discussing in class. This is a great way to start getting learners to research their own questions online quickly and efficiently. For example, when teaching students about Future Architecture and the Venus project, my students were really intrigued and wanted to look up the creator of the Venus Project. They found all of this information on the founder of the project and its benefits.

Photos and Videos. Using basic photo and video apps to create engaging presentations, documenting things they see, collaborating with another to make an interesting project, are all easy and simple ways to see the future of mobile devices in the classroom. These types of projects also leave room for student innovation. They can pick their own apps that they know how to use well to create projects independently or with their peers.

We can see all of the benefits mobile devices can contribute to a lesson. We know that our students use them every day and it’s high time that we harness their capabilities as a use for learning. They will need their mobile devices in order to develop 21st century skills that they will need in the workforce later on, so we should start using them as early as possible.

Sources

Hardison, J. (2013, January 07). 44 Smart Ways to Use iPADS in Class (Part 1) – Getting Smart by @JohnHardison1 -. Retrieved February 02, 2016,from

http://gettingsmart.com/2013/01/part-1-44-smart-ways-to-use-smartphones-in-class/

Sinha, R. (2013, May 15). Integrating Mobile Technology into the Classroom. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/330-mobile-technology-in-classroom

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