The rise of mobile…

Over the past week or so I’ve had the privilege of participating in a number of cluster meetings around the country – always so energizing to be among groups of teachers gathered to share their ideas, experiences and classroom successes!

For my part I’ve been sharing thoughts relating to possible futures we face, referencing the findings of the Horizon Report and CORE’s ten trends. Top of the list in these and other trends findings at the moment is the impact of mobile technologies on classroom teaching and learning.

Confirming the accuracy of these predictions, I keep coming across examples of where mobiles are already impacting on practice in the classroom. Just a few days after Apple released it’s iPad in NZ I was at the EastNet cluster where I met cluster coordinator, Belinda Johnston (pictured) who was recently returned from participating in the Apple Bus tour through schools in California. In her presentation to the group, Belinda explained how she’d embarked on the trip with the intention of focusing on the use of laptops in a 1-1 setting in classrooms. As a result of the tour, however, she has returned convinced about the future of mobile technologies! Belinda shared some compelling stories and illustrations from her trip to California to support her reasons for this change in direction, and is now the proud owner of an iPad, and is preparing the case for a suite of iPods in her school.

A couple of days later, just after I presented the ten trends at the Hamilton CORE breakfast,  I was in Te Aroha, visiting Stuart Armisted (pictured right) at Stanley Ave School. As a part of an extensive programme of school review and development at the school, Stuart and his staff have been exploring the potential uses of mobile phones – thanks to some generous support from Vodafone who have supplied a set of HTC Magic mobile phones running the Android operating system. Stuart is exploring the use of a range of Android Apps on the phones, and is also working closely with the developers of the school LMS, Ultranet, to enable teachers and students to interact directly via the mobile devices in the classroom.

We live in exciting times – and it’s very pleasing to see such examples of the adoption and use of new technologies that are based on sound pedagogical principals and the support of school curriculum – not simply as a result of “techno-lust” 🙂

6 thoughts on “The rise of mobile…

  1. I cannot see how mobile devices are better in a classroom – surely the teacher could raise her voice; if its to do with interacting “directly” how does a small screen computer help. Sorry to be picky, again, but since techno derives from the word for skill I for one am a fully paid up member of the techno-lust brigade in all, and as many as possible, senses

  2. The teacher could raise her voice but where does this stop. Children raise theirs and then classrooms will be shouting. This aside I think you are missing the point. The use of mobile technology enables all students to have a portable device that connects them to learning that they might not have been able to before. Think of a classroom all being able to watch a movie at their own pace – adjusted sound level. Think of the class that can all email in their survey responses on the spot to record in real time class surveys, think of the class that can carry out online tutorials in a second language so that the teacher has more time to discuss one-on-one with students about what they are learning, think of the student that is engaged in finding out information about their topic but cant get to the computer because someone else is using it, or not their class computer suite time – I could go on – no really I could – mobile devices should not be avoided – students are using them now. Lets use/embrace the technology! This reminds me of a quote, “When the winds of change blow some build walls, others will build windmills”

  3. I was lucky enough to see 1:1 iPod Touches being used in a number of primary classrooms recently. I was very impressed with the way they were being used by the children. The iPod sat on each student’s desk throughout the day – alongside their pencil case, ruler etc. There was never an “iPod” time as such, the students just chose when it was the appropriate tool for any given activity. It doesn’t replace laptops/computers but it does give an alternative for many schools like mine who are struggling to get enough computer access to all students. It’s not possible for our school to have 1:1 laptops in the near future but it is far more likely that we can maintain our 6-8 computers in each class alongside 1:1 iPod Touches getting the best of both worlds! Some of the classes I saw recently have been part of a research programme and there is data to show that achievement in reading increased significantly in just a few months (eg on average 2 years improvement in 6 months). It will be interesting to see the results of research in other curriculum areas.

  4. Paul, your statement seems to be based on the premise that the ‘teacher’ is at the front of the class ‘spouting’ knowledge for the students to catch. Maybe pedagogically you are not ready to consider the use of mobile devices to enhance learning.

  5. Part of our research is to measure whether the use of mobiles with our LMS (Ultranet) will aide student reflection, communication between home and school and the dimensions of the Stanley Avenue Learner. The challenge is in formng an action research project that will be able to do this??!

  6. At Howick College we have been exploring the use of mobile technologies and were privileged to visit Stuart Armistead and his students a couple of months ago. To me the issue is this: I am the IT manager of a large secondary school, 1800 students. I have a very large wodge of cash tied up in desktop computers that are aging and on the whole, I can not afford to replace. Yet my teachers are desperate for more computers in their classrooms to support learning in place; so that ICT truly supports the just in time needs of students. Yet we missed out on SNUP and only 60% of my school has acceptable copper cabling. What do I do?

    Answer: every day my students bring in a computer in their pocket. It is an *appliance* that they are *confident in using* and that is their *device of choice*. Why should I prescribe when, where and how students will access ICT? They have the ICT in their hands, how can I enable the students to use this power in their learning? The question is how do we empower the learner?

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