Monday, February 24, 2014

Welcome to the Mobile Classroom of 2014!

Only a few years ago, schools clamored to have access to the computer lab a few times a month.  Then came the laptop carts which contained 35 or so relatively new computers.  If teachers were fortunate, they could access them 3 or 4 times a month at most. 

Now, computers weigh barely more than a pound-iPads, tablets, Chrome books, and Kindles.  Others fit in a student's pocket-smartphone!  How powerful are these tools?  They can do everything a heavy desktop can do and more.  Even more important, they are portable!  So how does a teacher create an organized focused learning environment with these devices?  Quite easy with some careful planning:)

First of all, the vast majority of students probably feel more comfortable using these tools than their teachers...and that is OK.  This should be quite normal since these students have been using many of these tools for ages.  They are digital citizens.  So when glitches arise, should teachers consider turning to the "experts" to solve the problem?  Yes, they should.  Students love to share what they know.  In my situation, I often turn to students to find shortcuts, or fix a software problem.  They usually take care of the issue in a few seconds.

Second, teachers must have a plan for using the equipment.  Project BASED LEARNING fits in here with ease.  Collaboration and team work goals are easily met here through mobile learning.  Communication is addressed in the team's effort to creatively solve a problem with teacher facilitating as needed.  After all, the work force of the future will require intense global communication to develop new products, send humans to outer space, repair the ecosystem, etc. 

Third, what tools could these devices be used for?  SKYPE is one which could be used if they needed to talk to students in other countries.  EMAIL and INSTANT MESSAGES are two means of communication in every place of business anywhere in the world.  Students could use them in contacting key subjects in their projects.  TWITTER is an online quick feed often used by businesses to quickly share opinions on company related topics.  To keep track of what they are doing within their groups, they could TWEET about each one's progress.  Students need to know about it and how to use it.  The use of DIGITAL VIDEOS can also be addressed since many business people send video clips back and forth in studying possible products to be sold or advertise. 

Yes, these new light devices open up a world of potential in pursuing project based learning assignments AND students will enjoy every part of the process.

PINTEREST dmcyberteacher or denise@ellteacherpros

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