Smartphones and teaching: some literature and thoughts

Blue bar

Reading through a lot of various posts about college students and smartphones and haven't found anything too interesting. Most comments online seem to be tips for students going to college, notes about how many college students have smartphones, reviews of smartphones, etc. Typical is something like, Should We Allow Cellphones in School? How Students Can Use Smartphones as Learning Tools. Smartphones are good for delivering video or quick survey questions. I also think that they can be very useful for classroom assessment techniques. (See my post.)

But here was something, Cassandra Leger, Top Hat App Turning College Lectures into Interactive Smartphone Lectures (Boy what exactly is an interactive lecture?)

Faculty still seem to be struggling with the presence of smartphones in the classroom. See College classrooms: Smartphones get 100% inĀ attendance

Dumb question for smartphones. (This is slightly off the topic, but maybe students will stop paying attention to their smartphones and start paying attention in a class when they actually start flunking a course, but that might be too much to expect.)

Jan Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Anthony Herrington, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry, New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile technologies and new ways of teaching and learning (2008)

Mark Frydenberg, Wendy Ceccucci, Patricia Sendall, Smartphones: Teaching Tool or Brain Candy? (2012)

Mark Reilly and Haifeng Shen, Shared note-taking: A Smartphone-based approach to increased student engagement in lectures (2011)

Barnes, J. & Herring, D. (2012). iPads, and Smartphones: Teaching in a Technology-Rich Environment. In P. Resta (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2012 (pp. 3422-3427). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. (Don't have access to this)

Aaron Puley, Why You Need to Add Smartphones and Tablets to Your Learning Environment (not much here in the way of useful activities)

Andrew Kitchenham, "Teaching 21st Century Skills: Voices from the Field,", Key excerpt: Tapscott (2009) stressed that the new Net Generation. 21st century, teacher should consider the learning styles of his or her students. In particular, he purports that four fundamental shifts need to occur. First, the teacher needs to take the focus off himself or herself and focus on the students. This means a change from a one-way transmission model to a two-way interactive model. Second, the teacher should change from a sage on the stage to a guide on the side. That is, the teacher needs to be one who encourages discovery in the students and assists students in finding multiple ways to pose questions and get answers in a highly collaborative manner. Third, the philosophy of education needs to be altered so that the model is not one-size-fits-all but rather one-size-fits-one (Tapscott 2009). The students come to school with distinct learning styles that need to be accommodated and optimized rather than having the teacher teach in one way. Rather the teacher could encourage the students to discuss how they believe that they can best show their knowledge while still maintaining the integrity of the project under consideration. These ways of knowing could range from podcasts and video productions to written essays and oral presentations. Lastly, learning needs to be collaborative rather than individualistic. In the past, each learner was taught and tested based on the knowledge that the teacher broadcaster. The Net Generation views learning as collaborative in that they observe each other, challenge views, experiment with other alternatives, and make projects together. Social media is one clear environment in which students thrive as it is truly collaborative.

Thomas Cochrane and Roger Bateman, mLearning Journeys: Redesigning Teaching for mLearning

Jeffrey R. Young, 6 Top Smartphone Apps to Improve Teaching, Research, and Your Life

Locky Law, Literature Review -- Smartphones for Teaching and Learning, Angels or Demons?

Smartphones: Education on the move

The humble Ipad or tablet computer. One of the problems that I see with the smartphone especially (and to a lesser extent the tablet computer) is the focus on video at the expense of text. That hurts writing skills, which are already not good.

And it is all about Apps, finding them that can be used on both platforms

Joe Kraus, We're creating a culture of distraction (Very important reading; also mentions the idea of SlowTalk) People can't even walk down the street anymore without bumping into a lamp post or careening off into the road because they are studying their phones. But note also that one person is not going to stop change. Eventually the scholastic method stopped in universities; the lecture has prevailed a long time, but I hope that no one reads a lecture any more. Some models do persist for a long time.

Well, there is a major problem using smartphones and that is in relation to video; it almost hearkens back to the old VHS v. Beta war of the 1970s. And the problem is the fact that Iphones can't handle flash video; this may one day be irrelevant, but it isn't today. Then there is also the question of Itunes v. Youtube for video. It is far easier to upload to YouTube, but there is often a sacrifice of quality.

Considering all of these free website builders, such as Weebly, wix, jimdo, spruz, I was wondering about what rationale I should give to colleagues about why they should put content online using these apps. I think that the key is that it provides continuous access to course materials for students, esp via their smartphones and/or mobile devices.

William H. Davidov, Virtual Reality Is Addictive and Unhealthy (opinion article in the August 2012 issue of IEEE Spectrum). I think that people are still searching exactly how to approach this question, but I think the growing unease with the speed of technological advance has many scratching their heads. This is not necessarily a great article, but here is another individual, deeply involved with technological tools, calling into question the benefits of the techno world in which we live.