March 26, 2018 at 3:10 pm #2203Amber C. LeeParticipantOffline
Below is an article I wrote for our February newsletter. Enjoy!
Invading classrooms all over campus and distracting students from the learning process! A complete takeover of every student in the classroom and no way to stop it! No educational value and a tool whose only use is for joking over text messages and wasting time on social media!
Are these some of the thoughts that come to mind when you imagine students using “mobile devices” in your classroom? Even if your thoughts are not to the above extreme, having mobile devices in your classroom can still be intimidating to “allow” in your classroom and even more intimidating, to try integrating them into your curriculum.
Fear no more! While mobile devices can certainly still be a distraction and used inappropriately by some students, data confirms that mobile devices are less of a distraction than we think and can actually support the learning process; and many students are asking for more integration of these devices during the learning experience. It is also clear that mobile devices are here to stay: “students’ smartphone ownership increased one percentage point to 97% and laptop ownership… to 95%,” while only “about 3 in 10 students continue to own a desktop” (ECAR, 2017). Perhaps learning to embrace mobile devices is the path to least resistance with these fast-developing technologies and an opportunity to work together with your students to develop reasonable, responsible use policies in your classroom.
Research reports that while laptops continue to perform “the heavy lifting of student work… smartphones are conducive to more agile tasks (e.g., communication, easy information access, photography)” and that “about three-quarters of students (78%) consider their phones to be at least moderately important to their academic success” (ECAR, 2017). Students report using their smartphones as a tool for quick information access, checking in the LMS on assignment requirements and due dates, communicating, and taking notes.
Additionally, if “students who use their smartphones purposefully… are less likely to use them to engage in nonclass activities” (ECAR, 2017). Consider that your classroom could give your learners opportunities to practice using their mobile devices in a “purposeful” way, further engaging your learners in your content, having focused fun, and teaching them responsible mobile device skills that can then translate to their future careers.
If you are considering allowing or integrating mobile devices into your classroom, there are many resources available free online. The limit of your imagination is truly the limit to how you could integrate mobile devices, but just a few ideas to get you started are:
1. Search for mobile device apps specific to the content area you are teaching
2. Download the Canvas mobile app and use it for checking assignments, due dates, messages, and more
3. Reminder apps are available to help students stay on track with deadlines, in addition to what is provided in Canvas
4. Allow students to research online during a specific question, or find data to answer a question, while in class
5. Poll students during a class session to engage and gain their answers through a polling app or website
6. Allow students to listen to music through earbuds during individual work times, as long as the music is streaming and not too loud to disturb others
To keep students on task, one teacher suggests to “change the classroom dynamic from lecturing the front of the room to having no traditional front of the classroom at all… [and that he] roams around the room helping students with their work… overseeing everything to make sure that they’re stating on task” (National Education Association, n.d.).
So get out there and take the plunge with mobile devices – research shows that your students will most likely be glad that you did and their engagement in your course will improve!
Graham, E. (n.d.). Using smartphones in the classroom. National Education Association. Retrieved Februrary 5, 2018 from http://www.nea.org/tools/56274.htm
Brooks, D. C., & Pomerantz, J. (2017). ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2017. Louisville, CO: Educause Center for Analysis and Research. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/resources/2017/6/2017-student-and-faculty-technology-research-studies
Amber C. Lee, M.Ed.
Center for Online Innovation and Production, University of Florida
PhD Student, Instructional Tech
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