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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Mobile Devices in the Classroom. Stem Stuff

Mobile Devices in the Classroom. Stem Stuff

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I was first intrigued with mobile learning on a flight to Aukland, New Zealand. The small child across the aisle from me, clutched his device for every waking hour of the flight. I could not see what was on the device, I know it was an Apple IPhone. I was too polite to ask.. In countless planes, trains and even in an automobile, the problem of boredom seemed to be reduced. The mobile device seems to have solved those types of problems. To think of the power of Mobile look at this infograph.http://mashable.com/2011/03/23/mobile-by-the-numbers-infogrpahic/ Mobile Devices At a visit to the National Geographic I had to pay attention to the device that was questioning me about my geographic knowledge. The device was counting answers and giving instantaneous feedback. But are what mobile devices are allowed in schools? Are the powerful intersections of visualization, powerful content and models being kept away from the classroom? STEM resources are mostly available in imagery, visualization , modeling and embedded assessment, online. In her Mindshift Blog, Tina Barsegihan states: One of the most exciting things about living in the digital age is witnessing huge cultural changes occur in real time. We’re at just that point now with mobile learning. Whether it’s on an e-reader, a tablet, or a cell phone, there’s great excitement — though not a lot of research yet — around the potential of how these devices can strengthen learning. “There are frontiers that we’re just beginning to learn how to reach.” “What if your mobile device had a sixth sense?” asked Harvard professor Chris Dede, who’s researching the diverse dimensions of mobile learning, at the recent ISTE conference. When most of us consider education, we think of learning happening in isolated places — schools. But mobile devices are upending that assumption. With innovations like augmented reality, different kinds of information and experiences can be superimposed onto the real world, complementing and adding another dimension to “formal” learning institutions. Pilot programs are springing up all over the country (more on those soon), as educators and researchers determine what kind of learning can happen best with mobile devices. “We know from generations of work that devices are catalysts,” Dede said. “The device never produces learning, but when coupled with changes in content, new forms of assessment, linking people together, that’s what enables learning.” Chis Dede talks about mobile learning : ” Learning a variety of content and skills anytime, anyplace wit a small device light enough to be carried in one hand.” Chis Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard University Jason Ohler.” Virtual learning and the availability of digital content have changed to offer more methods of student engagement, increased customization of learning objects, open resources, and personalized education.. Learning using visual Imagery Digital citizenship is impossible until we help students live one life instead two. Right now they live two—a digitally unplugged life at school and digitally deluged life outside school. Having them bring their devices to school is a great first step in creating a reality-based environment for the discussion of digital citizenship. But what do we do about those students who have nothing to bring?posted by Jason Ohler May 19, 2011 ” Learning in the 21st Century, Taking it Mobile“ was a conference I attended about a year ago.. We know that the policy, process and technology infrastructures that are adopted over the next few years will shape education for decades. We also know that the lack of broadband is a problem in many places in the US. We have been talking about 21stCentury adaptations and transformation for many years. It is still a goal. . Many think the devices will change the learning landscape and equalize access. There is a dark side of the digital divide without broadband. Everyone assumes that people can access high powered sites. The FCC is busy working to create broadband for all but the realization of this will probably be a long time in coming. The sad part of this is the lack of classroom access in some parts of the US. We are told the new E-rate will help to solve this, but it is a BIG problem. Sometimes the people who need access most are out of sight , out of mind. We had a big discussion on the District of Columbia schools and what the teachers were or were not accomplishing, but no one questioned their lack of technology support in training, in devices, and in content integration. Quietly, the discussions are going on in various school systems, but there is no conclusion as to what really works. Reaching out to involve students and faculty in Supercomputing As mobile devices become ubiquitous, students are using then to facilitate learning and enhance productivity in and out of school. There are roadblocks, but the most difficult to solve is the disconnect of access. After that, there is the concerns about cyberbullying and creating a platform of use that is reflective of the purposes of the task in education. At the conference we mulled over these questions and they stay with me still. What do mobile wireless devices contribute as a platform for bringing education innovation and best practices to scale? What do mobile wireless devices contribute as an enabler of innovative powerful methods for teaching and learning? How can we complement the current educational infrastructure( computers, wires) with the emerging wireless mobiles, cloud based infrastructure? What are key challenges in financing, implementation and policy? How can we plan to accommodate the rapid evolution of mobile devices? How would you answer these questions? Mobile Devices capture the attention of students. who have never seen or used these devices before. This is outreach for the Teragrid. Research, 2010 and Our Future, Students Speak Up about Their Vision for 21st Century Learninghttp://www.tomorrow.org/ Edutopia The Internet is an astonishing source of educational resources: Lesson plans, classroom-product reviews, and even psychological support for those dark days when your students (or your coworkers) are straining your mental balance are only a Google search away. The trick, however, is getting that pipeline of online information flowing throughout your school, including directly into classroom PCs. Computers are often centralized in a media center, building codes can be prohibitive for setting up a broadband feed, and most schools are short-changed when it comes necessary tech support. Here is a recipe for wireless access for those on the digital dirt road or for the understanding of those who did not get to attend the conference from the George Lucas Educational Foundation that is a how to.. The project is entitled the Digital Generation. Welcome to the Digital Generation http://www.edutopia.org/digital-generation-project-overview-video What Devices? There are a lot of devices that can be included in this discussion. The ones I know are,mobile and associated technologies, smart phones, IPod, IPhones, Netbooks, digital clickers, chargers and battery packs ,mobile interactive whiteboards. Wireless to the Rescue http://www.edutopia.org/tech-teacher-wireless-rescue Taking it Mobile Access to smartphones has more than tripled among high school students since 2006, according to a survey report from Project Tomorrow®, a national education nonprofit organization, and Blackboard Inc. The report ,Learning in the 21st Century: Taking it Mobile!shows that students now view the inability to use their own devices in school, such as cell phones, smart phones, MP3 players, laptops or net books, as the primary barrier to a successful digital education. The various reports can be found here. Can we Change the Digital Divide with Mobile Devices? The FCC Chairman indicated in his discussions early in the year that Digital Tools may be the solution to the digital divide Mobile Divide…. What Can we Learn about Making a Difference with Mobile Technology? Philosophy of the Mobile Divide In the US Mobile Digital Divide- According to a new study on U.S. consumers and mobile from the Pew Research Center, an unprecedented 60% of adults in the U.S. access go online wirelessly, whether by laptop or cell phone. Two factors are driving this trend, and shaking up any preconceived notions about America’s digital divide. Finding #1:“Cell phone ownership is higher among African-Americans and Latinos than among whites (87% vs. 80%) and minority cell phone owners take advantage of a much greater range of their phones’ features compared with white mobile phone users. In total, 64% of African-Americans access the internet from a laptop or mobile phone, a seven-point increase from the 57% who did so at a similar point in 2009.” Finding #2: “Young adults (those ages 18-29) are also avid users of mobile data applications, but older adults are gaining fast. Compared with 2009, cell phone owners ages 30-49 are significantly more likely to use their mobile device to send text messages, access the internet, take pictures, record videos, use email or instant messaging, and play music.” What’s driving more Blacks and Hispanics, and older adults, to mobile? According to Pew spokesman Aaron W. Smith, increased mobile web usage is driven by two key factors: age and economics. A younger demo with an annual income of $30,000 or less a year has jumped in usage, and African-Americans and Hispanics are younger and have less money than the general white population. Mobile is thus bridging the digital gap between the traditional distinction of haves and have-nots, and while it’s a positive trend, it’s still a gap between those with cellphone-only access and those with computers as well. About 18% of African-Americans use a cellphone as their sole device for Internet access compared to about 10% of whites. That said, laptop ownership has risen from 34% in 2009 to a current 51% among African-Americans. Overall, 59% of Americans now access the Internet through mobile devices as opposed to 51% a year ago. So mobile may prove to be the ultimate equalizer, at least on the digital playing field. Other interesting facts from the study reveal that Americans are using their mobile devices to (as ranked by Pew’s latest stats vs. April 2009) The most interesting discussions are about the way in which wireless can be deployed. Bring your own wireless, netbooks using the cloud, and a variety of ways to solve the digital divide were proposed. This from Mindshift Bring-your-own-device classrooms. Since most kids these days already have access to a mobile device, schools are seizing the opportunity to turn these gadgets from distractions into learning tools by incorporating these devices into classroom lessons and projects. From mobile phones to laptop computers, teachers and students are increasingly bringing technology to the classroom, and in many school districts, it’s being put to good use.Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of one-to-one computing programs in raising test scores and increasing college attendance, but with many districts strapped for cash and unable to provide devices for each student, this isn’t always a possibility. The solution may be found in asking students to bring their own devices to class, cutting back on the number of mobile devices the school needs to provide while still enhancing the learning experience. What have mobile devices go to do with STEM and changing education in America? Eliot Soloway ” Are cellphones and other mobile devices powerful learning tools or intolerable classroom distractions? For Elliot Soloway, the answer is a no-brainer. Cellphones, hand-held gaming gadgets, and netbooks—all relatively cheap, seemingly ever-present mobile devices used (and often abused) by today’s teenagers—can engage middle and high school students in learning inside and outside of school, he and other advocates of mobile learning say.” FIVE STEM Applications you can’t replicate by talking or lecturing. Windows to the Universe ,Windows to the Universe explores the Earth, planets of our solar system, and the universe. It includes images, animations, and data sets, and information about books . The Exploratorium,The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art, and human perception—a vast collection of online interactives, web features, activities, programs, and events that feed your curiosity. Project Lead the Way The PLTW Innovation Zone (aka the classroom) is an engaging and thought-provoking place, where students develop critical thinking skills through hands-on project-based learning, preparing them to take on real-world challenges. Students will have the opportunity to create, design and build things like robots and cars, applying what they are learning in math and science to the world’s grand challenges. The PLTW program is designed to serve middle school and high school students of diverse backgrounds from those already interested in STEM-related fields to those who are more inspired by the application of STEM than they are by traditional math and science courses. Whyville , What does it take to build a sustainable, green energy community? 8th Graders are showing us how using WhyPower, an interactive learning game within the largest interactive learning world, WhyVille. Here is an interactive game. http://www.poweracrosstexas.org/projects/whypower-interactive-game Energy Game: WHYPOWER Whyville is a thriving community with its own economy, newspaper, government and much more. It now has its own power grid! As part of the WhyCareers program, we are “electrifying” Whyville with a power grid that uses traditional and renewable energy sources. Students will manage the power grid to select the right mix of coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar and wind energy. They will build homes in Whyville! They will observe and measure power use in Whyville, and form good energy behaviors and habits. Finally, they will explore the math, science and career topics related to energy. Just like in real life, success in Whyville is not pre-programmed! Students skill, initiative, creativity and teamwork determines the rewards they receive and the “virtual money” they earn in WhyPower. Whyville. Run a city using energy reources. National Geographic FieldScope is a web-based mapping, analysis, and collaboration tool designed to support geographic investigations and engage students as citizen scientists investigating real-world issues – both in the classroom and in outdoor education settings. FieldScope enhances student scientific investigations by providing rich geographic context – through maps, mapping activities, and a rich community where student fieldwork and data is integrated with that of peers and professionals, adding analysis opportunities and meaning to student investigations. NG FieldScope uses cutting-edge technology to make interactive mapping and geospatial data analysis tools accessible to students via the web in an intuitive package that is free and does not require software installation. enables students and classrooms to upload their own field data – including quantitative measurements, field notes, and media, such as photos – and to see it in relation to data from peers and professional scientists. fosters collaborative sharing and analysis of data among the FieldScope community and beyond. National Geographic is partnering with groups – across a range of scientific disciplines – that are interested in exploring how FieldScope can better support student geographic learning and outdoor investigations. FieldScope Projects Chesapeake Bay The Chesapeake Bay FieldScope Project is a “citizen science” initiative in which students investigate water quality issues on local and regional scales and collaborate with students across the Bay to analyze data and take action. Chesapeake Bay FieldScope is a project of National Geographic’s Education Programs in collaboration with theChesapeake Bay Foundation and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

This is fantastic!

In a similar mobile, but low-tech way, my seventh grader used Foursquare and Gowalla to log every where he went this summer, on trips out of state and overseas. It's given him both a map and reminder fo where he's been, but also a sense of community about who else has been there as well. the iPhone and iPod help make this possible, but the true learning is in the interaction and documentation of what they're doing which wasn't as easy before.

Add digital pictures, facebook posts and more and you have a digital scrapbook that can be used later on for projects...
Is there a way we can be more open to using the mobile technology and web tools many students are already using to connect with them outside of the classroom, and use their outside the classroom experiences within the classroom itself?

I'm most concerned that in many schools, kids leave a 21st century world to enter a classroom where the things being taught don;t seem relevant to them, and thus encourages them to look at school as less of an exciting place and more of a 7:45 - 2:45 job they punch in and punch out of daily.

DrakeTellier's picture
DrakeTellier
Education Technology Specialist, Advocate. Graduate Student

Hi! Great article, it gives a good overview of the current trends in mobile learning. That said, have you checked out Celly ( http://cel.ly )? Celly is a free group texting service being used by teachers and students for educational purposes. Celly runs over regular SMS text messaging, but can also be used form the Web. Celly offers privacy features (private groups, phone numbers are hidden, message moderation, etc.) and egalitarian access-- it will work on any phone with a text messaging plan.

Among other things, teachers can create a text messaging group for their class, facilitate class discussion, notify parents and students about homework updates, schedule changes, and sick days. Celly can even be used as a clicker device!

For more info, visit: http://cel.ly

Sincerely,

DT
Education Technology enthusiast
Celly Advocate
@draketellier

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I am really excited to hear about this. Our schools are starting to debate the cell phone wars, and knowing there's something like this available for schools and group messaging may be just the thing we need to get over the hurdle of Cell Phone are Evil.

Many thanks!

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