Mobile Transitions

When I imagine a classroom of the future, each student has their own personal tablet or laptop device. My future grandchildren will likely not know any different. They will wonder how we ever managed without personal learning devices in the same way that my children cannot fathom a time when you actually had to get up off the couch to change the channel!

Today we find ourselves in the transition phase. Some students have their own devices, others do not. Classrooms have laptops for students use, but not .at a one-to-one ratio. Personal cell phones and iPads are being used in some schools and are banned in others.

To guide us through this transition phase, researchers provide many recommendations for implementing BYOD in schools. Changes to instructional practices, and infrastructures which support network access/bandwidth and equity for all students are required. Perhaps more importantly, as stated in the Alberta Education Bring your own device guide (2012), “(t)eachers will need to learn how to redesign lessons, instruction and assessment to integrate collaboration, communication and social creation of knowledge.” (p. 8). The guide also stresses how ” the school culture must embrace digital citizenship, which Alberta school authorities have identified as critical to the success of the use of technology in schools. ” (p. 24). Teacher training and the establishment of digital citizenship practices are perhaps the most critical for making the transition to the ubiquitous use of personal learning devices in schools.

Yet despite all of the work to be done in readying our schools for BYOD, I see the future materializing in front of my eyes, with almost no intentional effort on my part at all. “There are no more laptops, Mrs. Lasher. Can I use my iPod?” is a phrase I have heard several times in my classroom this year. Students who have iPods will use them to translate words for a project in French class. The kids are simply using them as tools because it makes sense to do so.

With the right attitude and understanding of best teaching practices, the integration of personal mobile devices may simply morph into reality. I am not suggesting we do nothing, and simply sit back and let it happen. There are many important considerations and actions to be taken to ensure equitable access, that the tools do not drive the practice, and that they are used appropriately. But in spite of the challenges, we will make it through this transition period successfully. I can hardly wait!

References:

Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(1), 23-31

Alberta Education (2012). Bring your own device: a guide for schools. Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/admin/technology/research.aspx

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4 Responses to Mobile Transitions

  1. kamal punit says:

    Hi Kim,

    Your vision of a future classroom reminds me of a recent sixth grade photography class that I observed recently. The students had no idea that only a few years back, photographs (the hardcopies) were developed in a dark room. It already appears to be a primitive idea for camera today is a mere utility tool of a mobile phone. We sure are in a transition phase as pointed by you. Perhaps, it is an opportunity to appreciate what technology has achieved and marvel at the future capabilities of educational technology. It is clear that using personal devices for learning an obvious and a convenient choice. However, where is it taking us? Isn’t it really offering our children to be totally dependent on technology for education as well as the other realms of life? From personal entertainment, socialization with friends and family to submission of daily assignment, everything can be achieved with a device in the pockets of our students. According to Crichton et al. (2012), “Teachers need to be treated as learners and their learning must be honored and personalized and supported.” Teachers as co-learners may be the most important element of this transitional phase.

    References:

    Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(1), 23-31

  2. Great examples to illustrate why the present in Education is a transition period! Do you think we may always be in a transition period with the incredible rate of technological change? I think education will be constantly morphing and teacher training will be a constant issue. As I ponder the dilemma of teacher training, I keep coming back to the fact that some hours outside of school need to be intentionally dedicated to teacher collaboration. Alberta Education (2012) cites Johnson & Johnson 2006; Smith, et al. 2006, “Research finds that students who learn in cooperative or collaborative groups outperform students who work individually or competitively.“ (p. 36). I’d say the same would apply to teacher learning!

    I wonder if the owning of personal devices will become as essential as bringing indoor shoes to school. “But more importantly, schools will need to determine how digital citizenship might be fostered and required when using handheld devices in the classroom. Being able to connect, communicate and create with these devices is fast becoming a significant element of digital literacy and a powerful way to support personalization and student achievement. (Crichton, Pegler & White, 2012, p. 30). With students already asking if they can use their own device, there is little time to waste. There is an immediacy to implement recommendations around digital citizenship. How have you utilized CBE’s webpages on digital citizenship and student online safety?

    References

    Alberta Education (2012). Bring your own device: a guide for schools. Retrieved from:
    http://education.alberta.ca/admin/technology/research.aspx

    Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning,10(1), 23-31. Retrieved from:
    http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?ur

  3. kelasher says:

    Kamal,
    I do have some concerns that we are becoming too dependent on technology. Just this week, I had a conversation on that very topic around doing report cards. What would happen if suddenly the system failed, and all of our report card data was gone? How would we adapt? When our school server goes down, lessons are revamped on the fly, and students will often react with a view that they can’t do the work without the laptop. Teaching them to be flexible and adaptive is as important as teaching them to be technologically savvy. I do think it is important to appreciate what advancements we have gained, but to also reflect on what skills we might be losing by doing everything with technology.

  4. caroleware says:

    Great imagery here Kim! I agree that we are in a transition period. I love the fact that students are automatically going to their devices as a tool to assist in their learning. Students in my class are often asking to document their learning through video or photographs. Once they do, others ask them to email the photos or video to them as well. I think the have/have not problem will be solved with the BYOD in education. Students that have their own devices will bring them in and want to use them since they are well versed in how they work and students that do not, can then access the limited school resources more freely. Mobile devices will allow for instant access, longer battery life, and give schools a cheaper alternative (Crichton, Pegler, & White, 2012, p.29) to provide technology to use as a tool for learning.

    Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(1), 23-31.http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?ur

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