Amidst a Mobile Revolution in Schools, Will Old Teaching Tactics Work?

Tina Barseghian explains how now that there is new technology, she is concerned that old teaching tactics that include pen, paper and a chalkboard will not work or engage students in the classroom. Tina writes about this idea in her article, “Amidst a Mobile Revolution in Schools, Will Old Teaching Tactics Work?” Tina explains that less than a decade ago, using your cell phone in school was looked at as completely unacceptable, where nowadays students use their cell phones 24/7 and depend upon them for not only daily tasks, but as educational tools as well. Chris Dede has worked in the field of education technology for many years and even he is surprised at the vast use of cell phones in the school setting. He explains that mobile learning is being used more frequently in schools than other forms of technology that he has seen.

Statistics show that about 80% of students have cell phones and because this consumer market is so large, this explains the usage of cell phones in the classroom and the rapid speed of this growing technological tool. The author explains that using cell phones in the classroom went from a silly idea to inevitable. One fact i found extremely interesting from the article is that 62% of schools allow cell phones to be used on school grounds, but not in classrooms. When I was in school you were not allowed to bring your cell phone to school, let alone use it during school hours. I think that overtime technology will continue to be more accepted in schools, especially as the technology raised youth turn into leaders and teachers in this country. Many schools are currently being coached on how to use technology including cell phones in the classroom.

I agree with using cell phones in the classroom, because if students are going to use their cell phone anyways and break the rules anyways, then they might as well have to use their phone in an educational way rather than texting their friends while being on their phones. iPads are definitely one form of technology that has taken over many schools. Over 1.5 million iPads have been distributed into educational settings. In addition to those iPads, many brands that are not made by apple are also distributed to schools as well. Using iPads instead of books has become the most frequent device used in the educational setting. Many students use their iPads in the classroom for interactive quizzes and to view educational videos as well. By using these iPads, the students become more engaged because they are able to use the technology they love and are accustom to while learning. One thing the article mentioned is that kindergarden students are using the iPad to learn to read instead of books. Although I do not think that this is necessary, it is pretty funny. Teachers also benefit from using iPads as well. Technology allows teachers to receive test scores faster and to understand the status of the classroom pertaining to how the students are doing in the class and how much of the material they have grasped.

Tina explains that many students use their smartphones instead of the desktop computers offered by the school to look up information because the smartphones are faster and the technology is more advanced. Students use the smartphones in particular to calculate, map and to take notes. I know i have personally taken small notes on my phone because it is more convenient to carry around an iPhone than a big binder and pens. Although the technology that Tina discusses is important for students in order to engage them and incorporate this new generation that is centered around technology, it is important to ask “What real and lasting effect will they (direct tech applications for learning) have on the formal learning equation?” “How do we use these tools to gage a successful mobile learning program?” With new technology, this means that the students have to be the guinea pigs and this is definitely risky as these students have to be prepared for the real world as well. In what ways will these students be at an advantage in comparison to other students? In what ways will they be at a disadvantage to other students that learned with more traditional methods?

Technology, however, will definitely reach students in a meaningful way. Instead of students memorizing facts, they will play games and use things they love such as their mobile device to learn instead. When learning has meaning, students are more engaged and focused. They are also more motivated because they want to learn through these devices. The author also explains that many are worried about new technology being applied to traditional ways of teaching. In order to apply technology in a way that does not resemble old ways of teaching, it is important for the schools to change the pedagogy. Right now by using an iPad, the content being studied is the same as before, just on an iPad instead of in books. The author argues that we must change the way students learn new content.

Investing in iPads is useless if there are no gains by using the iPads. Although the iPad is convenient, the iPad needs to further advance the learning and engagement of the student in order to be worth switching over to this piece of technology. The test scores need to show better results in order for the iPads to be worth buying. As long as the iPads make an impact in learning and have the proof to show it, they are worth incorporating in the classroom. One iPad app showed that there was a 20% increase in algebra when using the iPad in comparison to those that did not use the iPad. These comparisons between traditional study techniques and new modern technology techniques are important to show drastic differences in the amount of engagement and motivation students have to learn. By using new technology, the students are more engaged and therefore more likely to learn more often rather then when they have to. The iPad and cell phone are just a few ways that technology can be incorporated into the learning environment.

This article can be found here: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/03/amidst-a-mobile-revolution-in-schools-will-old-teaching-tactics-prevail/

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Nick Berlage
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 11:44:42

    I think a better question might be to ask if the pen and paper method EVER worked. The only “effectiveness” that pen and paper have had in history stems from people who were inspired to use them before ever picking them up. What I mean by that is the following: Einstein, combined with a natural brilliance that may never be paralled again, had an unrelenting desire to explain the world around him. He understood that he could accomplish that through math and physics, so he picked up a pencil. Beethoven fell in love with music as a kid, and combined with his being a musical prodigy realized that he could expand his knowledge of the topic by learning theory and writing symphonies…enter pen and paper. I could provide examples for days but the bottom line is that in order for anyone to be engaged in anything, they have to be interested in it; and the way to create that initial interest is NOT by using a pen and paper. Only after “you” have succesfully fostered a genuine motivation to learn a subject in students will it be practical to introduce them to a pen and paper.

    Before a craftsman can be given tools, he must understand what he is building.

    Reply

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