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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The start of school is a time for fresh beginnings and innovative ideas. For some, this could include a new perspective on the devices that are becoming so ubiquitous in our lives -- mobile gadgets like smartphones, tablets, mp3 players, and eReaders. Schools around the country are struggling with how to deal with these gadgets -- embrace them and incorporate them into the learning process? Ban them and try to keep them out of schools? Or something in between?

In the playlist below, I've gathered some videos about educators and schools who are welcoming the sea change that is mobile learning. I've also collected some tips and information to help you navigate these tricky waters. Will the 2013-14 school year be the one you start to go mobile in your classroom?

Video Playlist: Mobile Devices in the Classroom

Keep watching the player below to see the rest of the playlist, or view it on YouTube.

  1. Katy ISD | A New Vision for Mobile Learning (05:19)

    Admittedly it's a pretty rosy picture, but there's some good insight in this video, which shows how tech giant Cisco partnered with Katy Independent School District in Texas on a mobile learning initiative for all 60,000 students.

  2. Why BYOD? (02:00)

    This cute hand-drawn animated video from educator Cheryl Fiello takes just two minutes to show us how and why bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs can help schools bridge the digital divide.

  3. The Infinitie Thinking Machine: Learning a Go-Go (06:35)

    Host Ramsey Musallam makes complex topics simple and fun on this show. Here, he shows off some great mobile learning examples. Visit the Infinite Thinking Machine website for all the links featured and more episodes.

  4. Cell Phones in School / Personally Owned Devices (PODs) Initiative (03:47)

    Get a peek inside the classrooms of schools in Colorado's Douglas County School District. A little more homegrown than the Katy story above, this video lets you see first-hand how the kids use their devices in class.

  5. BYOT for Parents (13:14)

    Whether you need to inform your parent community, or you just want to learn more yourself, this video is chock-full of detailed information about how mobile devices can be used for instructional purposes in the classroom.

  6. Passaic City School Narrows the Digital Divide in Education (03:35)

    Okay, this one is essentially a Samsung ad, but it speaks to one big issue that pops up in the mobile learning discussion -- whether it helps bridge or widen the digital divide. Hear from a district in New Jersey that deployed a 1:1 Chromebook program to address the gap.

  7. Bring-Your-Own Device - Student Instructions (04:19)

    Here's a great example of a simple narrated slideshow produced to introduce the BYOD idea to students. It offers tips and guidelines for program success, and you can find more info at the district's BYOD website.

  8. The Mind Matters Show: Cell Phones in the Classroom (02:48)

    This endearing little show out of North Carolina makes a pitch for using cell phones in the classroom, particularly for STEM education, and gives a few helpful tips from a school administrator.

  9. Teachers, Meet Graphite (01:09)

    So you've convinced your school to go mobile -- now how do you wade through the ocean of available apps for the best ones? Thankfully, Graphite is a new free service from Common Sense Media that does the work for you.

  10. TEDxLondon - Geoff Stead (06:46)

    Already a few years old, this talk about the possibilities of mobile learning for K-12 classrooms and the world, from tech thought leader Geoff Stead, is still a good conversation starter. Keep up with Geoff on his blog, moblearn.

More Resources for Mobile Learning

There are a wealth of resources out there about incorporating mobile devices into your school -- whether your school is rolling out a 1:1 tablet or laptop program, you're thinking of piloting a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) initiative, or you just want to experiment a little in your own room. Check out our own Mobile Devices for Learning page for more Edutopia links, and then check out the links below from around the web. I hope they will help you start thinking about the powerful possibilities of our portable pocket computers!

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