It wasn’t long ago that educators feared smart phones in the classroom or school. Some schools went as far as to ban them from school. Well, times have changed since then. Fast forward to now and you can see a dramatic change in perspective. Many schools that once banned mobile devices are actively handing it out to their students. Walk into many classrooms today and you’ll find smart phones, tablets or notebooks competing with if not edging out pen and paper.
Though all schools are gradually turning digital, some started early and are well ahead of the rest. Melissa Venable describes the successes of such early adopters in her article for onlinecollege.org.
Quite a few students in this North Carolina School District, like their counterparts elsewhere, felt Math was difficult. The school issued smart phones to see if it helps any. Students took to it instantly and used it as a calculator, as a resource for research, to play games or watch videos (Math videos, of course). Gradually the students started enjoying Math, their grades improved,and today some of them are considering a career in it.
Fifth graders of Cimarron Elementary School were allowed to use smart phones to log on to the internet to search for information, send emails to their teachers, do homework while on the move, create excel sheets, graph their lab test results, and everything else academic that they could think of doing on their smart phone. The only restriction imposed was that the smart phones could not be used to text message or call.
Learning on the Go is a program that students of the Watkins Glen School District took part in. Teachers at Watkins Glen felt that students can fit in the digital age only if the school went digital.The school issued netbooks, mini-netbooks and smartphones to surf the web from school as 40% of them did not have an internet connection at home.
Third, fourth and fifth graders of St.Mary’s, Ohio were each given a PDA (personal digital assistant) to create content, draw pictures, or learn spelling and maths through flash cards on applications created by Go Know. Students appreciated the accessibility and learned how useful technology can be.
While other schools handed out mobile devices, this school allowed students to bring in their own gadgets, like a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Students used it as dictionaries, calculators, sketchbooks, rather in every possible way that made learning simple.
Incorporating mobile learning into curriculum is not always easy and so they had a technology coach to help them in this process.
Almost in all the schools mentioned above teachers and students were excited at the prospect of going digital, but parents needed some convincing. For example at Edmonton, 41% of the parents agreed to the usage of mobile learning devices while 59% felt the right place for technology was out of the classroom door.
One of the key disagreements is usually around internet safety. We know this at Mobicip as we are involved in many such mobile learning projects. Mobicip solves this problem by offering a safe and secure internet environment for young users on mobile internet devices. The school can reassure parents while addressing CIPA compliance requireements.