Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pitfalls of Mobile Devices in Today's Classroom

Over the last year or so I have become an advocate for using mobile devices in the classroom.  Mobile devices like the smarthphone, iPad, & iPod touch have helped educational technology spread in classrooms due to their enormous popularity, lower prices, and size for mobility.

However, over the last few days I've become aware of some problems with mobile devices, that all teachers should be cognizant of and try to avoid.

Mobile devices were originally designed and created for 1 purpose...Content Consumption!  Although many of these devices are now acquiring more apps, like iMovie that allow for creation and productivity, the entire platform of mobile was built on consumption.  Let's go back to the Bloom's Taxonomy.  Where would you put digital consumption?  (Pretty hard question, wouldn't you say?)

While I will continue to be an advocate for mobile devices in the classroom, I am now making a more concerted effort to help teachers find ways in which students can do more creating.  Whether that creation happens with the mobile device or traditional computer doesn't matter, so long as the student gets the opportunity to learn how to use technology to create and be productive.

A quick example I have are QR codes.  They've infiltrated many schools in the last 2 years, and most teachers love the lessons they have done with them.  But lets ask this question..."If all your students do with a QR code is scan it with their phone, what have they learned to create?"  Lets be more open to students helping us create more elements of our lessons and consequently new skills that teach our youth the power of creation vs consumpiton.

A generation of consumers who don't know how to be producers is a dangerous imbalance in any economy.  Let's make it a goal to let students do more creating with technology.  Creating websites, blogs, documents, presentations, movies, music, art, newscasts, podcasts, timelines, web 2.0 things, etc.  Creation requires knowledge, ingenuity, creativity, and discipline.  Those are the higher order skills that we are striving for as 21st century educators.