Acceptance. That’s step one to increase student’s engagement in his or her own learning through the use of mobile devices. There are many brilliant applications of mobile devices in the classroom, but yet there are still those who are resistant to this addition. I wonder why? Likely, those who struggle with the advent of the Internet and it’s perpetuating into the classroom via the devices in each and every students hand are those that don’t understand, didn’t grow up with or most simply, don’t want to understand. It’s extremely easy as a teacher to say, I have a method that works, I don’t need something new… even if it is better. This is what distinguishes great teachers from good teachers. Great teachers embrace change and channel it into their classes, when appropriate, for the betterment of student learning; good teachers, effectively teach the material to their students the way that best fits his or her own comfort zone. I aspire to be a great teacher.
I believe that the best way mobile devices increase student learning is through their ability to connect students to anyone or anything in seconds. Now, at the same time it must be understood that we need to teach students what this seemingly constant connectivity to the world means – it is expected that they hold themselves to a higher level of integrity. By this, I mean that students must determine if their source is reputable, which we will need to teach them how to do, and treat others with dignity and respect through online interactions. Students’ having these devices and the integration of them in the classroom brings classroom learning to a whole new level, but it also raises the stakes when it comes to student responsibility.
For me personally, I began bringing mobile devices into my classroom through the use of polleverywhere. It is an extremely simple online survey tool that engages students in formative assessments. I would use this tool at the beginning of a unit to pre-assess student knowledge and at the end to determine growth. In both situations, I make word clouds (using Tagul) to provide a powerful image for students to see their own growth. Unfortunately, this is the only direct experience I have with mobile devices in classrooms where I have been in the position of “teacher”.
For PSIII I would really like to have students engaging in conversation with their peers and students from fellow interns classes via Twitter. I plan to set up a common hashtag that all of the classes can engage in discussion and collaborate with one another. I think this is a fantastic example of a mobile Internet tool that changes the nature of learning, rather than replacing existing methods. It is very easy for students to engage in conversations within the classroom with their peers and I, however there is so much more potential for student growth if they interact with others. I know for a fact that the way I would teach a concept, will differ from the teacher in the classroom next door, in a different school, city, province, etc. For this reason, I find it beneficial to have students interact with students who are in a completely different learning environment (or classroom) because they undoubtedly will have been taught the material in a different fashion, which just may help my students retain the content. I suppose I see these tools as a great way to promote differentiation to provide students with an inclusive classroom environment.
Richardson (2013) delivers a thought provoking post, which I coincidently found on Twitter, “Does Your School Have a Culture of Curiosity and Trust?” Before I even read his post, I said aloud “I sure hope so!” The idea of working in a school that is governed by fear of inquiry and rigid policies brings a frown to my face. I am a firm believer in learning through inquiry; it allows students to learn through mistakes and personalize their learning taking whichever path allows them to reach self-actualization. For me, this is exciting because each student is able to achieve the top of Blooms Taxonomy, but the route the take is individualized – it’s differentiation folks! The idea of using inquiry-based learning to support individual students needs was supported in our ED3502: Educational Psychology class in PSI (Woolfolk, Winne & Perry, 2012).
Please take a moment to look at the “Global Mobile Trends” (Bustos, 2012).
After going through this infographic, I found the numbers to be extremely interesting. What I found most interesting is how much, I anticipate, the numbers to have grown in one year. For example, 60% of mobile users spend 40 minutes per day on the web; I think this number has grossly increased over the past year. The majority of people now own smartphones and use them constantly on a daily basis.
I would like to close today with a discussion of another article I came across on Twitter, “A Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy For Evaluating Digital Tasks” (Heick, 2013).
Much resistance of technology integration is rooted in fear. The fear that the students might know more about the technology than the teacher, that it won’t be implemented properly, that it won’t increase student learning, etc. The infograhic above gives teachers an easy visual that links various technologies to levels of Blooms Taxonomy. I will focus on blogging and all the different levels that are hit just from this one activity.
Evaluating: blog commenting, networking, reviewing, posting and moderating
Analyzing: linking and media clipping
Applying: uploading, sharing and editing
Understanding: advanced searches, Twittering, categorizing and tagging
Remembering: social networking and searching
When we involve our students in blogging, we are engaging them in every level of Blooms Taxonomy in some way at each stage of the learning experience. There is real learning that can occur from the integration of technology. What should not be lost here, is that each of these activities can be done from the mobile device – I have a WordPress app on my cellphone and my iPad, which allows me to write posts, comment on others blogs, moderate and reply to comments on my blog etc. We are no longer in a time when we need a laptop computer, although it may be easier to have one for some activities, I think we will see this diminish as technology advances – it will be possible to complete all of our online activities from the palm of our hand and it’s time teachers begin to embrace mobile devices, make mistakes and learn from them, before they become the norm.
You may also like “Mobile Learning with Blooms Taxonomy & the Pedagogy Wheel” which I discuss in my post “Mobile Learning with Blooms Taxonomy & the Pedagogy Wheel” (Pickering, 2012).
Heick, T. (2013). A Bloom’s digital taxonomy for evaluating digital tasks. Retrieved on July 20, 2013 from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/ablooms-digital-taxonomy-for-evaluating-digital-tasks/
Pickering, C. (2012). Mobile learning with Blooms taxonomy and the pedagogy wheel. Retrieved July 20, 2013 from http://rde.nsw.edu.au/files/UHS_Padagogy_2012.pdf
Richardson, W. (2013). Does your school have a culture of curiosity and trust? Retrieved July 19, 2013 from goo.gl/3ZWfu
Woolfolk, A.E., Winne, P.H., & Perry, N.E. (2012) Educational psychology (5th ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.