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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Mobile Phones in Class

The following extract was taken from The Guardian Teacher Network (click here to read the full article) - 'From multimedia to geocaching, the possibilities for using mobiles to engage learners are endless. Teachers tell Emma Drury how and why they are using the devices in school. Jo Debens, geography teacher, Priory School, Portsmouth - 'The geography department at my school has been leading the use of mobile device in learning. Throughout last year the mobile@priory charter was created and led by head of department David Rogers and co-constructed by students to enable them to use mobile devices in learning. This was trialled through the geography department and found great success with students becoming more actively engaged with their learning.

Some of the examples of where we use mobile devices range from simply taking photos and videos to share in class or recording homework, to creating revision podcasts or animations. The point often is student choice, encouraging independent learning and allowing students to choose what approach will suit them. We have found that encouraging mobile device use has enabled our students to access resources that we cannot provide otherwise. For example, students access the internet for research (such as the internet or our department blogs/Facebook support page).

On fieldwork, students can record images, video, sound, take notes, use GPS technology and mapping software to record information essential to their coursework. In school we have used mobiles to record work, for example the students used chalk around school to leave messages or symbols regarding social spaces and guerilla messages and then used mobiles to take images or record video or sound interviews of them discussing their work which could then be shared with the class. The focus is on the learning, the discussion on what they gained from the activity not on the device.

One activity sees students investigating secret places in school - they have to find a space, and find evidence or clues about that space to share with others. Many use their mobiles to record sound or image clues to share. We also introduced a geocaching project where students hid Olympic themed geocaches at Box Hill and used mobile devices with GPS to use the website and online research before hiding their geocaches and then seeing them go live and have real people from the public able to find their work.
The benefit for us as teachers is the personalisation, and the freedom for students to access resources. Often the lower ability children find mobile devices enable them to interact more freely and use tools to learn. We find that it encourages student voices and increases engagement.

Originally some were concerned about potential cyber-bullying or disruptive behaviour but what we've actually noticed is that behaviour concerns have decreased since the policy was introduced, and that students are now being taught how to use the internet and mobile devices safely. It has never been about the devices, it is always about the learning. The devices are just the tool that enable young people.

Patrick Taylor - ICT and computer science teacher - Barnsley Academy, Barnsley -
At the beginning of the summer we began a collaboration with Microsoft. We were already incorporating products from Dreamspark into the new curriculum at key stage 3 but introduced year 8 to Kodu. They welcomed such a new interesting tool which encouraged us considerably, as we had initially been hesitant about how learners would relate to Kodu, Gamemaker and Scratch.

Microsoft and HTC provided us with handsets which opened up opportunities to support the curriculum. With this in mind I created an Introduction to Computer Science taster session covering mobile app design with resources extracted from the MTA and Microsoft school resources. This spanned over five lessons and allowed learners to decide if they would like to head down the computer science route or the ICT route. Learners will complete their MTA exams over the next academic year with some doing so at the end of this term.
Touch Develop has been written into the scheme of work and is due to commence this week. This will be done with year 10 and span over five weeks. We are looking forward to the task with the first priority being to build colleagues' understanding of the possibilities this opens up as a teaching resource.

One of the great things about working at Barnsley Academy is that colleagues are open to trying new technology and by being part of a national group, United Learning, we are able to work with colleagues across the country in different schools and academies to pilot initiatives and develop best practice'.

The above was taken from The Guardian Teacher Network 
(click here to read the full article) 
With this article in mind, I asked IPACA learners what they thought of using mobile phones in the classroom: