Leveraging Mobile in the Classroom

Andrew Smyk is a dad, educator & UX designer with a focus on Mobile Design, a speaker, a coffee aficionado, avid cyclist, all-round pirate and HTML5 Evangelist. He coordinates a post graduate program in Interactive Multimedia at Sheridan College and writes about how kids adapt and use technology.

Don’t ban technology, leverage it!

Kids have access to a wide variety of internet-ready devices: tablets, iPods and handheld gaming platforms. Instead of asking students to put away their devices, why not have students leverage their mobile devices as part of the classroom experience with fact finding activities? You can start a classroom discussion on a topic and then suggest that students use their devices to learn more about it.

In many classrooms, the only way to access the internet is on a lone desktop computer at the back of the room or in a separate lab. Mobile devices are ubiquitous and can provide opportunities for inclusive student-centered learning activities with proper guidance and instruction to keep the students on lesson.

Along with the ability to access the internet, many mobile devices have the ability to take pictures and capture video. Why not challenge your class to create educational content by taking pictures or video and building mini-lesson webpages, blog posts or a Prezi presentation about a particular topic or school trip? Kids see the world from a different vantage point and you will be amazed by what they will take pictures of when given the opportunity.

Students in older grades can use services such as TagBoard to post content generated via social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Remember to provide them with an appropriate hash tag for the assignment or project so they can easily search for the content.

We all use multiple platforms to access information and enhance our learning experiences, and your classroom should not be any different. Using mobile devices can increase student engagement and foster student collaboration and promote learning both inside and outside the classroom. The question should not be whether devices belong in classroom, but why are we not using devices in the classroom?

What can you do with devices in your classroom?

  • fact check
  • take pictures
  • record video
  • make notes
  • record voice notes
  • sketch/doodle
  • post directly to blogs and wikis
  • explore places with Google maps

How are you leveraging mobile in the classroom. Share your best tips in the comments below!

 

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Dell’s Official Flickr Page.