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We’re Just Not That Interesting April 15, 2009

Posted by timsparacino in Technology Integration.
Tags: , ,

Looking back at the resources that I came across from August 31-September 6, 2008, I found two articles that dealt with incorporating handheld devices into the school curriculum.  Both of the articles proposed that handheld devices (cell phones, iPod Touch, etc.) should not only be allowed in school, they should be embraced.

The first article, Mobile Phones Boost School Standards located on the Telegraph.co.uk website stated that according to research, “Schoolchildren should be allowed to use mobile phones in the classroom to boost education standards…mobiles could be used for a wide range of educational purposes, including creating short movies, setting homework reminders, recording a teacher reading a poem and timing science experiments.”

The article went on to say that, “employing them as part of day-to-day lessons boosts pupils’ motivation levels.”

I know that we’re a long way from lifting the all-out ban on cell phones that a lot, if not most schools employ.  However, maybe we could start with small pockets of cell phone/handheld use with teachers that are specifically trained to incorporate these tools, not just for the sake of doing it, but for improving student achievement.

The next article that I’d like to highlight is An iPod Touch for Each Student? found on The News & Observer.  This article describes a middle school that “could become the first in the country to give an iPod to every teacher and student, an experiment that would challenge teachers and administrators to ensure the hand-held devices are used as learning tools, not toys.”

School Principal, Susan Wells realized that the devices might at first be used “more to download the new Jonas Brothers single than to tap the riches of human knowledge” but went on to say that “to dismiss the technology as a distraction or a gimmick ignores today’s tech-driven world.  It’s a world we better figure out, because we can’t ask our students to come into a classroom, put those things aside and sit in a row and think we’re interesting.”

So, I encourage you to begin the discussion of just how handheld devices could be incorporated into school for the sake of improving student achievement.  I think that it is quite possible that there will be a day when we will look back and wonder why we ever fought the presence of this technology in the first place.

And, like Susan Wells said, “We’re just not that interesting!”

For links to more resources and information about how schools are using cell phones and other handheld devices check out these tags on my Diigo or Delicious pages:




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