Schools are constantly searching for new ways to engage students in true inquiry which is designed to allow them to develop lifelong learning patterns which will best prepare them for the future. The PYP (Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate) educational framework, employed in our school, is built on a constructivist approach where students use prior learning to build new understandings. Sandberg, Maris, & de Gues (2011) suggest that such learning is made possible with the use of mobile technology because inquiry is at the point of need, at the students own ability and in their own time. Yet we ban these powerful devices from our classrooms. We need to look at our policy concerning student owned hand held mobile devices and their possible inclusion in our curriculum.
Edwards-Groves and Langley (2009) discuss a comparative study conducted in NSW which suggests that many students who enter kindergarten are well versed in sending text messages, emailing, uploading digital phones, creating text , using video and voice recording devices. Many mobile devices carried by our students have these functions and more. Students are readily able to not only communicate with others but are also able to create, sort and locate information at the touch of a button. The majority of our students have ready access to mobile devices like cell phones, media players, smart phones, e-readers and other electronic communication devices which allow them to complete these tasks . With the addition of apps specifically designed or utilised to enhance learning, measurement tools, learning games, calculators and polling ability these are very powerful devices indeed. These devices, suggests Morgan (2010,) make it easier for students and teachers to share files, to comment on work and to edit created material because students are not tied to desks, classrooms or timetabled response periods. Why do we ban them?As Sandberg, Maris & de Gues (2011) suggest, mobile devices allow learning to occur anywhere and at any time without restriction. This encourages authentic lifelong learning connected to real life situations, a requirement of a PYP school.
Mader & Smith (2011) recognise many potential uses for mobile devices in the classroom. IPods can be used for recording and sharing oral and video tasks which can then be downloaded by the teacher on a play list to assess at a later date. Cell phones can be utilized for texting information and responding to questions. Educational apps, document creation and retrieval, particularly using One Note and Google Docs, are all useful tools. Quillen (2011) suggests they have the added function of peer to peer content sharing, note taking, collaborative learning, access to information at point of need and when questions arise. Johnson (2010) adds that the ability of devices to access learning games, worksheets, text books, extra readings and a student’s ability to access primary source material all make these tools invaluable.
Mobile devices are being incorporated increasingly into mainstream classrooms. Mader & Smith (2011) discuss a study in which students were encouraged to ask questions relating to subject content via text messaging. Students were less hesitant to ask questions because they did not fear being ridiculed. Students were more inclined to complete homework tasks as they were assessable at a time convenient to them. An interesting study by Gulchak (2008) which was reviewed by Morgan (2010) suggested that mobile devices improved the on-task concentration levels of young boys with emotional and behavioural disorders and could be used effectively with these students. Mader & Smith (2011) record examples of teachers using mobile phones to complete polls, to allow documents to be synchronised between PCs at home and school ,ongoing assessment and feedback being presented immediately and homework updates sent at predetermined times. Students, Johnson (2010) suggests, are being encouraged to participate in a truly global community via blogs with those in other nations. Digital devices are taken on excursions so that students can be taking pictures, videos, recording notes, research questions and access documents rather than just completing paper and pen worksheets.
Students are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning, suggest Mader and Smith (2011) by completing tasks to their own time frame, to search for information to answer questions when the need arises, to problem solve, to collaborate and to create when they wish to. They are no longer bound by classrooms, desks, teacher instruction and direction. Curriculum can be truly differentiated for them. Teachers became learning facilitators and students are encouraged to find their own direction by locating their own answers and indeed their own questions. McCaffrey (2011) explores the ability of modern students to use these mobile technologies to shape their own meaning with an immediacy that has never before been possible. Rogers, Connelly, Hazlewood, & Tedesco (2010) suggest that this is because such devices are light, relatively cheap, easily transported, easy to use and good in varying light settings. They allow for the quick interchange between activities and people.
Teachers are able to use mobile devices for networking via such social networking sites as Twitter and Face Book. Mark books would be at hand all the time, feedback could be sent to students promptly. As educators we need to prepare our students to enter a work force and work that is increasingly governed by changing technologies. They will need to collaborate and work in teams. Larkin (2011) suggests that mobile technology encourages students to develop the skills they need to be team players. We must engage and extend them. As McCaffrey suggests, it is the obligation of all educators to educate students in information retrieval skills which will provide them with the best opportunity to find solutions to real world problems in meaningful ways, to create and be creative. They free up teachers to work with smaller groups because, as Looi, et al., (2009) suggests, mobile technologies provide a variety of points during which a student can enter a lesson providing differentiated education.
Edwards-Groves (2009) discusses limited access to computer labs and technology that does not work as being one of the main frustrations teachers have in embedding technology into lessons. The use of mobile, student owned technology would eradicated this. The use of such devices, McCaffrey (2011) suggests, limits the amount of money and time schools invest in supplying and maintaining technology. Furthermore the data is kept using cloud technology meaning that schools no longer need to maintain larger servers nor train users.
The greatest challenge in using mobile technologies in the classroom is in organisation and pedagogy, explains Ash (2010). Teachers may feel threatened by this, they may fear losing control, suggests Edwards-Groves (2009). Mader & Smith (2011) note that laws, policies and procedures for the use of mobile devices are limited and have not kept up with the change. Australian Independent Schools and NSW Educational Department policy is virtually none existent and so responses are left up to the school and are often knee jerk. For many there is a “leave it at the door” policy. Our scoop and Sequence ICT documents are, by and large, out of date because many schools have no real understanding of students’ skill. Support via in-servicing is limited. Many leading our IT departments are not educators and do not understand the requirements of a classroom.Quillen (2011) states that devices are limited by their screen sizes, battery capacity, speed and the band width size while Johnson (2010) emphasis the ability of such technology to distract students from the learning tasks. Some students, suggests Rogers, Connelly, Hazlewood, & Tedesco (2010) find it difficult to move from one task to the next in a seamless manner which disrupts their learning. Perhaps the greatest concern, as highlighted by Morgan (2010), is that children are bombarded with advertisements and inappropriate material but this could be overcome with education, policy and internet filtering.
Some believe that the use of mobile technologies could increase a child’s reliance on tools. Mader & Smith (2011) suggest that in fact it leads to higher order thinking as students do not dwell on the mechanics of tasks. Not all students within our classrooms have mobile device because of parental fiscal or ethical restraints. A study by Larkin, (2011) suggests that there may be benefit in 1:2 device sharing as it encourages collaboration, sharing, team work and group role development and, as Jeng, Wu, Huang, Tan, & Yang (2010) suggest, this could increase the motivation and efficiency of the learning as the group encourage each other to remain on-task.All pedagogical change needs to be firmly rooted in best practice and student needs. No technology, as Ash (2010) suggests, should be used for its own sake. All changes should add to the learning opportunities of the students within our classrooms. Furthermore, technology is changing so rapidly that tasks should not be related to a specific technology.
Several independent schools are now looking at using mobile devices within the classroom. They supply internet access with or without filtering but do not support the devices nor maintain the devices; these are bought and remain the sole responsibility of the student owners. One large Independent school provides a list of apps to be purchased by the students which support the curriculum. These remain the property of the students. Such schools do not provide data storage facilities for the students.Devices cannot be monitored but students should be educated to use them appropriately. We do not ban students from talking to each other because they may be involved in bullying, we educate them instead. We should do the same for any piece of technology so that cheating in tests, sexting, accessing inappropriate material and distraction is not an issue.
Schools, and ours is no exception, need to investigate the use of student owned mobile technology in our classrooms. As Quillen (2011) and Johnson (2010) suggest, schools and education departments need to develop policies which outline what devices can be used for, how they should be used, why they should be used. Abuse should be defined and education programs to deal with this developed. We need to look at our pedagogy and how technology fits, as suggested by Mader & Smith (2011). It is time to look at what the research is saying, what our students need and how we can best teach for the present and the future.
ReferencesAsh, K. (2010, March 18th). Teachers Testing Mobile Methods. Education Week, 29(26), 26-27. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=b106587a-0bbf-4bf1-a398-9b5553f49959%40sessionmgr115&vid=3&hid=112&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ehh&AN=48817229Edwards-Groves, C. a. (2009). i-Kindy: responding to home technoliteracies in the kindergarten. National Conference for Reachers of English and Literacy, (pp. 1-16). Hobart. Retrieved from www.englishliteracyconference.com.auJeng, Y., Wu, T., Huang, Y., Tan, Q., & Yang, S. (2010, October). The Add-on Impact of Mobile Applications in Learnign Strategies: A Review Study. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 13(3), 3-11. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=4af84541-238a-4b23-8466-cc9925e45d88%40sessionmgr115&vid=2&hid=112Johnson, D. (2010, November). Taming the Chaos. Learnign & Leading with Technology, 38(3), 20. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/infomark.do?action=interpret&sPage=20&source=null&prodId=EAIM&userGroupName=csu_au&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm&type=DIourl&queryId=Locale%28en%2CUS%2C%29%3AFQE%3D%28sn%2C9%291082-5754%3AAnd%3AFQE%3D%28vo%2C2Larkin, K. (2011, Winter). You use! I use! We use! Questioning the Orthodoxy of One-to-One Computing in Primary School. Journal of Research on Technolgy in Education, 44(2), 101-120. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=276e42f8-f998-4c4f-97e0-8cd935e7078c%40sessionmgr110&vid=2&hid=112Looi, C., Wong, L., So, H., Seow, p., Toh, Y., Chen, W., . . . Soloway, E. (2009, December). Anatomy of a mobilized lesson: Learning my way. Computers & Education, 53(4), 1120-1132. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.05.021Mader, J., & Smith, B. (2011, December). Accelerate Your Mobile Devices. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(4), 30-31. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=4ef52a03-289f-4911-912e-0d78b2e310fb%40sessionmgr114&vid=2&hid=112McCaffrey, M. (2011, February). Why Mobile is a Must. THE Journal, 38(2), 21-22. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=1841e453-ccf5-4474-b40b-d30aa59622b5%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=112&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=iih&AN=58523891Morgan, H. (2010). Using handheld wireless technologies in school: advantageous and disadvantageous? Childhood Education, 87(2), 139-147. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA245884637&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=wQuillen, I. (2011, December 1st). Not Quite Mobile. Education Week, 30(15), 56-57. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?vid=10&hid=112&sid=96e588ea-ba97-46ea-826b-365e9b166500%40sessionmgr110&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ehh&AN=57468149Rogers, Y., Connelly, K., Hazlewood, W., & Tedesco, L. (2010, February). Enhancing learning: a study of how mobile devices can facilitate sensemaking. Personal & Ubiquitous Computing, 14(2), 111-124. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=26b3f29d-9aed-4a17-a120-ec00168d5d5a%40sessionmgr115&vid=2&hid=112Sandberg, J., Maris, M., & de Gues, K. (2011, August). Mobile English learning: An evidence-based study with fifth graders. Computers & Education, 57(1), 1334-1347. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.01.015
1. Are mobile technologies safe and educationally sound for use within our classrooms ?“ The iOS family pile” by blakespot March 22, 2012, ( CC BY 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/35448539@N00/6860486028
2. What mobile device do students have and what can they do?
3. “3GS and HTC (mytouch)” By dailylife of mojo “iPad” by Rego February 6, 2010 (CC BY-SA 2.0) “iPod Touch Theme” by Declan TM (CC BY 2.0)“Amazon Kindle 3 3G by Bert Kaufmann, December 2, 2009 (CC BY 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/36234195@N04/4334 http://www.flickr.com/photos/36006949@N00/30November 5, 2010 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/24652987@N0 862666 30154105(http://www.flickr.com/photos/83584488@N00/5171246269 2/4153529090 Find answers at point of need Sharing information Cokk Collaboration W h a t ca n t h ey b e u sed for ? Synchronising Texting questions documents across and answers devices Marking Text book access Note taking Record video or sound tasks Peer to peer sharing Access learning objects and games Edit and create documents Access and create Access and send primary source extra readings or documents information
4. How are mobile devices being used in other people’s classes? • Questioning by text messaging at point of need and to avoid ridicule • Can assist behaviour and concentration In class • Allows immediate feedback • Homework completed at a convenient time for student • Synchronise home PC with documents created at school • Create a truly global community- access to classmates, teachers and At home the rest of the world, • Group work with allocation of roles is possible • Recording of data in a variety of formats. • Finding answers to questions which arise at point of need.In the field • Ability to link tasks to real life situations
5. Advantages for students Learn at their own speed, not bound by confines of the classroom. Take responsibility for their own learning and prepare for their future. Learning and Have truly differentiated curriculum: aimed at the collaboration: students needs and strengths Students can- Shape their own meaning using technology they understand and have available.“stop following me” by screenpunk August 11, 2009 (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/23286095@N05/3814061348“essential you” by howard hall(CC) BY-NC-SA 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/28167759@N00/4413095364“New, Improved *Semantic* Web by dullhunk March 12, 2003 (CC BY 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/14829735@N00/303503677
6. Advantages for teachers • Network with other teachers both locally and globally • Model what it means to be part of a team Professional • Free up teachers time to work at point of need with smaller groups of students. • Work from any location with access to students, theirOrganisational work and their benchmarks. • Synchronise documents between locations • Engage and extend students in a differentiated Student curriculum • Prepare students for the working world they will enter learning • Improve student outcomes • Improve students enquiry skills
7. Advantages for schools. Reduce need to access computer labs Ensure that more Large servers no often than not the longer needed technology works Ability for teachers to embed No cost outlay to technology into purchase equipment lessons without a great deal of support from IT departments Limited amount of infrastructure needed“Data centre” by pallatron May 10, 2008 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/52725445@N00/2479541331
8. Disadvantages and barriers to use within our classrooms. Lack of education Device concerning limitations Organisation appropriate Feelings of inadequacy use Pedagogy Fear of losing control Fear Lack of policy and procedure Out of date documents Uncharted scope and territory sequence“Laptop Compubody Sock: by Bekathwia April 14, 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0) documentshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/23243094@N00/2414194397
9. Ethical and equity considerations Ethical Equity Decrease students ability for Not all students own independent thought mobile devices Limit higher order thinking The one-on-one model maybe flawed May increase or decrease attention to task Should parents foot Little research done the bill? on long term effects“Nw Hob” by Vanderlin March 7, 2006 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/99141439@N00/110113189
10. Support and monitoring of devices?“ The Sorcerer, 2012: Dawn of a New Age “ by Keoni Cabral May 11, 2011 ( CC BY 2.0 ) http://www.flickr.com/photos/52193570@N04/5712118730
11. Where to from here?“ Look before you leap “ by ectaticist July 10, 2008 ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 ) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecstaticist/2688582584/
12. What questions we should ask?A. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using student owned mobile devices in our classroom?B. Do they fit our pedagogy for teaching in the Primary Years Program?C. How would the use of these devices impact on our classrooms and would this benefit our students?What Readings we should do?1. Ash, K. (2010, March 18th). Teachers Testing Mobile Methods. Education Week, 29(26), 26-27. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=b106587a-0bbf-4bf1-a398- 9b5553f49959%40sessionmgr115&vid=3&hid=112&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=e hh&AN=48817229 This reading looks at the advantages and disadvantages of mobile device use in the class room and gives practical examples of how they can and are used.2. McCaffrey, M. (2011, February). Why Mobile is a Must. THE Journal, 38(2), 21-22. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=1841e453-ccf5-4474-b40b- d30aa59622b5%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=112&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ii h&AN=58523891 McCaffrey examines how the use of mobile devises in the classroom can impart on student learning.3. Morgan, H. (2010). Using handheld wireless technologies in school: advantageous and disadvantageous? Childhood Education, 87(2), 139-147. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA245884637&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r& p=EAIM&sw=w This article looks at the pros and cons of presenting learning material for students on mobile devices.