Saturday, 21 April 2012

Using personal mobile devices in the classroom

I work in a school where there are no rules other than "respect each other, respect yourself and respect the environment". Covers most things, but nothing is clear cut, "respect" basically means that each teacher can interpret things in their own way and the consistency isn't great. However, we have fantastic students who want to learn and most of them thrive in an environment where independence is allowed to flourish.

I don't encourage my students to use their mobile devices in lessons for their learning. However, I know staff who do in my school and in other schools. I think the phrase is "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

My partner used mobile devices to help personalise lessons and engage students. He helps them to show their independent learning skills by using their mobiles or choosing to use a textbook to find something out.

Alessio Bernardelli has shown me socrative, an online quiz room where you set the questions and the students can use their own devices to answer the questions and ultimately get a picture of how the group is doing. This type of interaction is the power of mobile technology to me.

I visited my new school in the Easter holidays and was nicely surprised by their positive attitude to ICT. Starting in September post-16 students will have the opportunity to use the school computers virtually on their smart phones, net books, tablets or computers. I am massively impressed by this. I am aware the technology has been around for a while, but I haven't heard of it being implemented in a school before.

Whether this will mean that students are able to use mobile devices in their lessons, I am not sure. At the moment the school rules are such that students are not allowed mobiles during the school day. However, I have seen them out in a class where students were videoing their dissection. So I hope there is a level of discretion.

I think that "bring your own device" is how education will move. Bringing a personal device will becomes as common as bringing a pen to lessons. It will mean teachers and schools will have to become more imaginative on how we use the devices as making a PowerPoint won't become as easy, it will also be necessary to have networks that can cope with the hundreds of devices.

In terms of teaching and learning, teachers will have to develop their ability to support students' research skills. And they will have to consider carefully whe technology can support instead of hinder learning.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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