Is there a role, or more properly stated, what is the role for smartphones and tablets such as the iPad in the classroom? A recent report on National Public Radio in the U.S. looked into the increasing usage of mobile devices in support of learning in classroom settings.
You can access the related blog, and the audio and transcript of the report, at n.pr/Py5ryu. The report notes that:
Allowing mobile technology in class has an ‘inevitable march of progress’ feel to it, like when calculators were first allowed. And in classrooms around the country, this change is already occurring.
As the photo suggests, change is is already occurring around the world, in this case Korea. The government in Thailand has purchased almost a million tablets for elementary school students.
Here’s a list of 10 North American K-12 schools allowing smartphones in the classroom. For example, one district in North Carolina allows students to use mobile devices in their algebra and other math courses, for calculation, for accessing math instruction videos on the web (think Khan academy and other instructional videos found on Curriki) and for other course-related purposes. Students there are reporting greater confidence in their math skills and more than half are considering careers in math-related fields. In another district in North Carolina, high school students with smartphone access scored 25% better in their end-of-year algebra exam than students not using smartphones in class.
And here’s a blog at Teachhub that discusses various ways in which smartphones and other mobile devices can be used effectively. These techniques include recording lectures, digitally delivering materials and useful apps such as Dropbox for sharing files.
Curriki supports the appropriate use of these devices in order to enhance learning, including by students in the classroom, and of course our substantial library of open educational resources is available for access by smartphones and tablet computers. This includes Curriki’s recently introduced open source Algebra 1 course.
We would be interested to hear your feedback and experiences regarding the successes and challenges you are seeing with student use of smartphones and tablets in your classrooms.