This week, I chose to read the following articles:
- Kearney, M., Schuck, S., Burden, K., & Aubusson, P. (2012). Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective [Electronic version]. Research in Learning Technology, 20, 1-17. doi:10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14406
- Zhang, B., & Looi, C. (2011). Developing a sustainable education innovation for seamless learning [Electronic version]. Science Direct, 15, 2148-2154. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.069
- Barron, B., Kennedy Martin, C., Takeuchi, L., & Fithian, R. Parents as Learning Partners in the Development of Technological Fluency [Electronic version]. The International Journal of Learning and Media, 1(2), 55-77. doi:10.1162/ijlm.2009.0021
My deeper understanding of implementing mobile technologies into my teaching environment has been fueled by these and previous articles related to my practice. Like authors, Looi and Kearney, my perception of mobile technology in the classroom has evolved, especially since the beginning of this course. In my own classroom, my main concern used to be not having enough mobile devices (6 iPads for 21 students) and how to use those limited devices as successful supplemental resources. Now, in reflection, my view has changed to more of a systematic approach. There is more to consider than just overall access to devices – things like global access issues, success and failures of using mobiles formally and informally, identity, privacy, and universal design. It has been interesting to read articles about real implementation in today’s classrooms and then of course, to try new tools out with my own students. Now, I am beginning to feel more confident in my ability to utilize technology appropriately with my young learners.
Reading “Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective” was a good opportunity to reflect and look at learning with mobile devices from a broader, social point of view. Authors said that in order for m-learning to be meaningful, their research proved that it must contain three characteristics: authenticity, collaboration, and personalization (pg 2). In my F2F classroom, I would agree that in order to attain higher level of thinking/knowledge, students must feel like the content is relatable enough to discuss and make it their own. The same goes for mobile learning – but the process can be a little different. Like Looi notes in “Developing a sustainable education innovation for seamless learning”, these smooth learning with mobiles experiences don’t just happen because of luck…. they happen as a result well developed plan…most of the time. As most teachers know, some of the best learning experiences arise during the most unexpected times. Looi et al. says that real learning happens (pg 2149) “when learners can bring technologies that are mobile and are able to learn beyond what their school and teachers have planned for them”. Blending mobile devices into learning environments allows students the opportunities for planned, formal learning experiences, but also for those informal and off the wall moments that create real learning….that sticks.
In addition to a broader perspective on utilizing mobile devices in the classroom, I chose to read, “Parents as Learning partners in the development of technological fluency” to gain a better understanding of the role of parents and what I can do as a educator to include them. This semester, I have become increasingly interested in the technological disconnect between home and school. Even as young as third grade, I can clearly differentiate between students who have their own devices at home or have access, and/or who has parental support. These kids make such amazing discoveries with technology at school, but if they cannot take that excitement and knowledge out of the classroom and into their real lives – then is it all really working? The author’s research findings are inline with my belief that when students leave the confines of my classroom – without parental support, they cannot fully utilize their skill set. This applies to all skills, not just those related to technology and internet use. In addition, as Barron says (pg 57), many parents don’t understand or won’t try to understand that their child doesn’t have to be just “hanging out” online. This “messing around” can actually considered self-directed learning. This article’s research showed that if parents take interest and undertake these informal teaching roles, their child’s social and academic development will increase. In his conclusion (pg 74), Barron says “the analysis of parent roles offers important insights for those interested in the intentional design of learning environments that can bridge divides and promote equity in empowered uses of computing.” Barron and Kearney both say that the intent of their studies were not to prescribe specific remedies for mobile learning, but instead to provide insight into these unique learning environments. This is the message that I take away from this week’s articles – this information is vital for people like us – to pass along and help everyone understand.