This week, I chose three articles and a corresponding video this week based on implementing Mobile devices in third grade classrooms. Although we have read a lot this semester regarding mobile technology integration in a variety of settings, I wanted to take a deeper look into both the success and challenges in the confines of a third grade environment. The following articles and video were chosen to support my post:
- Jones, A. C., Scanlon, E., & Clough, G. (2013). Mobile learning: two case studies of supporting inquiry learning in informal and semiformal settings. Computers & Education. 61: 21–32. Doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.08.008.
- Falloon, Gary. “Young students using iPads: App design and content influences on their learning pathways.” Computers & Education 68 (2013): 505-21. Web. 3 July 2015. <www.elsevier.com/locate/compedu>.
- Kiger, Derick, Dani Herro, and Deb Prunty. “Examining the Influence of a Mobile Learning Intervention on Third Grade Math Achievement.” Journal of Research on Technology in Education 45.1 (2012): 61-82. Web. 3 July 2015.
- BYOD and Canvas in a 3rd Grade Classroom. Perf. Nakita Gillespie. Pasco County Schools, Florida, 2014. Web. 3 July 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C448acj-toc>.
The following corresponds with the structured blog format and provides a brief overview this weeks topic, Mobile Computers in Designed Learning Environments. Afterwards, you will find a more personalized synthesis of the content in relation to my practice.
- What challenges and opportunities are presented?
- Overall, there are equal challenges and opportunities while of implementing mobile technology into a third grade environment. To begin, the access of mobile devices and/or a school’s willingness to implement such programs leads as the most serious issue. Although many teachers provide technology instruction, despite institutional support, without the backing and funding of systematic practices, a teacher’s impact is somewhat limited. Opportunities, however are abundant and include providing personal, meaningful learning experiences for learners and educators alike. Mobile devices can support higher levels of engagement and in turn, a higher quality of student work.
- How do these examples give insights into how educational uses of mobile technologies can impact learners’ lives in multiple ways?
- Learners are impacted by taking their learning into their own hands. No longer do students have to listen to what their teacher “wants” them to know – instead they can focus on what information is needed (or not needed!) to proceed. In addition to providing instant access to information for teachers and learners, students can actually use these skills to solve problems and make decisions in all kinds of situations.
- What insights are you drawing from these articles (and those in Lessons 1-6) about integrating mobile computers into your learning environment of interest?
- Personally, I can see that through careful consideration, and in my case, a lot of guided practice, even the youngest of students can benefit from technology enhanced learning.
To begin, I found a short video showcasing a third grade classroom that utilizes BYOD and mobile learning. Florida teacher, Nakita Gillespie, discusses using apps, web tools, and the Learning Management System, Canvas with her young learners. Currently, I am working on a lesson in Canvas for my final project in LDT 832 (Designing in CMS) and found this as a great opportunity to merge the two concepts. As Ms. Gillespie mentions in the video, combining skills in digital literacy and creates diverse opportunities for learning. She goes on to say that by using devices and apps daily, her students build the foundational knowledge necessary for deeper learning later on. Gillespie says, “the struggle of learning something new is not there, they’re already fluent”. Technology increases engagement, which ultimately increases the quality of student work.
Using Canvas on various devices, as a discussion tool to respond to book reading in class, is a simple and effective way to encourage learning. It sounds easy enough, but I can’t help but wonder how is learning actually occurring. What aspects of these devices are working and which are not? As Falloon questions in his “Young students using iPads” article (pg 506), how can the actual design and content features of these apps affect learning? Falloon designed his research to look at three aspects of mobile apps and devices: attributes “that supported learning, that were impediments to learning, and that placed parameters around learning” (pg 511). He found that programs and apps that supported learning through systematic, scaffolded experiences provided more authentic learning experiences. Programs that follow more traditional teaching practices (teach, model, practice, reflect) coupled with aesthetics and entertainment factors seem to be the most successful. Keeping kids engaged and organized is certainly effective in all realms of learning.
Authors from the “Examining the Influence of a Mobile Learning Intervention on Third Grade Math Achievement” article mentioned one valuable resource to provide the aforementioned systematic learning: Khan Academy (pg 63). Again, providing students with a familiar learning model – but also giving them the autonomy to create and pace their own learning. My personal experience with Khan Acamdemy lends me to agree with authors, as the level of engagement of my students and their quality of work while participating in this “flipped classroom” model grew exponentially. This success is also noted in Jones, Scanlon, and Clough’s article, “Mobile learning: Two case studies of supporting inquiry learning in informal and semiformal settings”. These authors drew on two case studies to prove “how mobile devices can support informal and semi-formal learning across different settings” (pg 21). Ultimately, these researchers found that when given informal learning opportunities, learners feel more control and find learning more relevant and personal. On a completely basic level, as on of Ms. Gillespie’s student exclaims on the video,“my hand hurts when I write more” and infers that typing relieves that pain. For a third grader, that control can mean taking something that is dreaded and turning it into an enjoyable experience. That simple, personalized option of typing instead of writing, could take a young student from a reluctant learner to an active inquirer. In my practice, although small in relation to other skills, these mini-milestones drive success.
Finally, at the end of the video, Ms. Nakita Gillespie squeals with excitement and says that she has been waiting for this kind of technology integration to be supported by her district! Personally, I am in the same situation in my own practice. Although major reform continuously occurs in regards to curriculum and instruction, policy, and teacher evaluations, technology integration has not become a major priority….yet. As I continue in my LDT journey (while teaching third grade), I plan to continue to consider and implement these successful design components. I can only hope that my proven teaching practices using systematic design and technology, will help to communicate and prove possibilities for authentic learning.