June 5, 2013 by Brad Currie
Last weekend Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal), Laura Kroll (@Mandery), and I were having a Twitter discussion on a Cicada Video created by @Motionkicker that was posted on Vimeo. Eric had posted the video on his Twitter feed and a few minutes later I showed it to my six year old son and four year old niece on my smartphone. They sat there in amazement during the seven minute clip and asked some great questions about the role cicadas play in the grand scheme of things. I then said to myself: “Why aren’t we doing more of this in our classrooms?” Students and teachers should be utilizing mobile learning devices in a safe educational setting whenever and however they want. From first hand knowledge I am aware of some school districts who have changed their policies to give educators the autonomy to use the devices for various learning experiences. If my son and niece are learning on smartphones now, won’t they expect this from their educational institutions once they become older?
We must continue to get over the “fear factor” when it comes to these devices and all the bad things that the internet can do. Rather we must focus on all the outstanding things that can happen when mobile learning devices and web 2.0 tools are utilized in a way that make learning engaging and relevant. Educators, including myself, must remember that it is not about us when developing lessons that help promote the success of students. It is about meeting the needs of diverse learners and arming them with learning tools that they use in their own personal lives. Do we ever think twice about putting a pencil in the hands of our children? Absolutely not, yet there are always problems that arise when pencils are brought into our schools. Don’t believe me? Check out one of my blog posts from a few months ago titled Stabbed With a Pencil. The bottom line is this, we must be willing to support the use of mobile learning devices in the school setting. It is no longer an option to use excuses or perceived problems that may arise as a way to keep them out of classrooms. This mindset does benefit kids in least bit and minimally prepares them for the world that will enter in the future.