Mobile Learning

A student pulls out their mobile phone to go to dictionary.com because they don’t understand the meaning of a word. The teacher yells at them to put their phone away. This is the reality of school.

Why is it that teacher’s are so afraid of students using technology to gain knowledge. After all, education in modern society has moved on from ‘what’ has been learnt to ‘how’ it is learnt. The important notion here is not a revolution of the education system with technology being the key player in this contest, rather the term which we should be using is evolution.

It is this constant accessibility to computers, not so much laptops or desktops, but rather mobile learning devices such as the Nova Datacom, iPhones and iPads which need to be used much more effectively than what they are currently. Attached is an article about the use of iPads and whether or not the DET (Department of Educating and Training NSW) thought the use of iPads as an educational tool was effective or not.

iPads as an educational tool? Say it isn't true!

Here I raise the issue, are we really using technology appropriately, or are we using it just for the sake of being able to say that the school is providing the students with the latest technologies.

Ultimately, technology should be used as a means of assisting students to achieve in any and all areas possible. There are a number of ways which this can be done, especially through the use of social media sources such as Twitter for a journalism unit in the English curriculum or even the use of podcasts both created by the teacher and by the students as a means of education when outside the classroom.

Technology is so much more than just giving students a laptop or an iPad, so why are teacher’s so afraid to use it correctly?

Most of the time, my answer would be the simple lack of training and support provided by the schools in order to train these teachers. Well, don’t think that there is no training provided, because it is on offer, but there is little to no attractiveness in participating and completing the training sessions.

Students at the centre of learning, not a product of education

This all comes down to the issue of whether or not this is the death of education thanks to the evolution of learning. As Stephen Heppell has exclaimed in his video, Empowering Young Learners, “every turned off device is a turned off child”. Heppell suggests that the role of the school has shifted from this centre of education and learning to being a place of ‘glue’ – trying to draw the attention of the students from sources of knowledge such as YouTube, Twitter and even games.

Games. You might think that they are all shooting, racing, sports or family based, however there is a relevance behind it all. For instance, at the school I work at, we advertise our Delicious page as much as possible. Here students can play and learn through activities experienced on their mobile devices.

One game which I enjoy letting the students play is Present Tense Golf Practice. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s hard to lose.

This is now my favourite part of the blog. My opinion and ‘critical’ reflection.

Mobile Learning. Is it the next best thing? No, it’s the current best thing. I highly recommend that you go off and watch Educating the Mobile Generation with philosophical discussion provided by Elliot Soloway and Cathie Norris, as well as The Myths of Opportunities of Technology in the Classroom narrated by Alan November

Perhaps this technology evolution is in fact the death of education, I just hope there is still a job for me after I’ve finished my five years of university!

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