Lesson 7 – Integrating Mobile Devices Into the Classroom

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In this week’s blog, I am focusing on integrating mobile devices with middle school visual arts students. I was intrigued by the article Mobile Microblogging: Using Twitter and mobile devices in an online course to promote learning in authentic contexts by Hsu and Ching. Even though the article described how mobile devices were integrated in a graduate course setting, I could relate to this article in so many ways to my middle school classroom. I also chose the Aslanidon & Menexes article titled Youth and the Internet: Uses and practices in the home (2008)as well as Junco & Cotten’s Perceived academic effects of instant messaging use (2011). These readings tied in nicely to the websites I found on integrating mobile technology into the classroom.

            The first site I was immediately drawn to was the aRTs Roundtable 30 website where an interview took place among three educators. One educator was an elementary art teacher; the other one was a music and technology teacher and the other one facilitated the interview. Being an art educator myself, I am always interested to hear and learn more about what others are doing with technology in their classrooms. The art educator described how she integrated doink and the Sketchbook Express apps on the iPad with her students. I am unfamiliar to both apps so learning more about them was fascinating. After listening to the interview, I heard mixed feelings that were expressed from the students ranging from fear to excitement as the students worked throughout the lessons using these apps. Fear was expressed if the student became frustrated and couldn’t comprehend how to apply a certain tool. Excitement was articulated as the students succeeded by meeting their goal. Advantages to using the apps in the art classroom allows for layers of building/creating as well as undo buttons to start over very quickly verses the traditional pencil and eraser methods found in the traditional art classroom. Results are immediate and the students remain engaged the entire time. The only concern the educator came in contact with was the “early finisher” (something I deal with on a regular basis). When she did have a student “who thought they were finished” she would ask them to ask themselves or a neighbor “Am I complete and neat?” I found this to be a great idea/question and I will be incorporating this into my lessons for my students next school year.

            Another case I found on the Internet that fascinated me on the topic of mobile device integration and the classroom was the How Teachers Make Cell Phones Work in the Classroom (2012) by Tina Barseghian. A study was conducted in a San Francisco secondary school. One teacher was extremely pleased and inspired with the results of integrating mobile technology into his classroom by means of cell phones but another teacher expressed his concern and negative outcomes. Mobile device positive outcomes that were mentioned were that it produced communication, collaboration, and application of facts, information gathering and understanding which is associated with the presentation of ideas. Some negative outcomes were associated with the anonymity factor. Some students made a game of producing inappropriate responses to questions in class. I can see the downside and upside of using cell phones in the classroom. Our district is aware of the negative repercussions and steers clear of any cell phone usage in the building. At the middle school age, being inappropriate is a challenge some are willing to take especially if it is anonymous. On the flip-side, students would be engaged and willing to communicate their ideas. With this being said, would this inhibit socialization? This topic would be something to develop into a study.

            Both of my web findings related to the readings I chose in the fact that “faculty and staff should be aware of how their students are using technology” (Junco & Cotten, 2011, p. 377). Parental awareness should also be a major factor when the student/child is using technology. Parents are just as important as the teacher when observing and becoming involved with mobile devices and learning. Mobile devices “promote learning in authentic contexts, reinforce formal learning with informal learnng, enhance social learning and overall, create positive attitudes (Hsu & Ching, 2012). Although none of the articles or sites proved that mobile devices affect academic outcomes to date, usage and outcomes were discussed. “Students surfing alone with little to no parental supervision” (Aslanidon & Menexes, 2008, p.1375) and socioeconomic status creating a divide using mobile devices as found in the Junco & Cotton (2011) read were major concerns.

            As I see the integration of mobile devices into the classroom, they not only create a divide at the socioeconomic level but also “characterizes a generation that is connected rather than divided by the Internet” (Gross, 2004). As an educator, it is my job to CONNECT with the students and if I am to make connections, I must integrate mobile devices into my curriculum for the benefit of my students and myself. As mentioned previously, “faculty and staff should be aware of how their students are using technology” (Junco & Cotten, 2011, p. 377). Technology does not replace the teacher but rather enhances learning through a “seamless facilitation” (Barseghian, 2012).

 

Sources:

Aslanidon, S., & Menexes, G.(2008). Youth and the Internet: Uses and practices in the home. Computers and Education, 51(3), 1375-1391. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2007.12.003.

Barseghian, T. (2012). How teachers make cell phones work in the classroom. http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/05/how-teachers-make-cell-phones-work-in-the-classroom/

Broos , C. (2013). aRTsRountable 30: Classroom Management of Mobile Devices in the Artsy Classroom. http://edreach.us/2013/01/09/arts-roundtable-30-classroom-management-of-mobile-devices-in-the-artsy-classroom/

Gross, E. (2004). Adolescent Internet use: What we expect, what teens report. Applied Developmental Psycholgy, 25(2004), 633-649.

Hsu, Y. C., & Ching, Y. H. (2012). Mobile microblogging: Using Twitter and mobile devices in an online course to promote learning in authentic contexts. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13 (4), 211-227.

Junco, R., & Cotten, S.R. (2011). Perceived academic effects of instant messaging use. Computers and Education, 56(2), 370-378. Elservier Lts. Doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.08.020

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Comments

  1. Profile photo of Erica says

    Hi Debra,
    I thought the case study you found on the Internet with positive and negative cell phone use in the classroom, was quite interesting. I teach 5th grade science and social studies in the middle school, and the students are still at the “teacher please” phase of behavior (most of them I should say). I think if I brought in the use of cell phones into the classroom, they would be so excited to communicate and collaborate, they wouldn’t even think of acting inappropriately. At least that’s what I’d like to believe. I guess I’ll find out this coming year, hopefully:-).

    I think the interview session you found is terrific too! What an insightful thing to view. It’s almost like you’re collaborating with other educators, (except you don’t say much:-) on what apps work and what ideas other educators have. I especially like the “early finisher” question. I may use that too!

    Wonderful insightful statement….Technology does not replace the teacher but rather enhances learning through a “seamless facilitation” (Barseghian, 2012). I couldn’t agree more! I too believe the same. I do not think technology changes educational content or processes, but I definitely believe technology strengthens the availability and access to it, as well as engaging learners in it.

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