Friday, December 17, 2010

Transforming learning - from what to how

In Grade 1 we are looking at how people get connected and as part of this unit we have been looking at different ways we communicate and how this has changed over time.  I send a lot of emails every day - I suppose that's one of the main ways I communicate with people around the world.   Our teenage daughter doesn't send emails very often ("That's so last century, Mum") she uses SMS or Facebook chat.  She almost never makes a phone call, she uses Skype.  Our Grade 1 students have been introduced to email and Skype recently too - they emailed students in Australia, Ghana, Tanzania, the USA and Italy and they have Skyped with students in Ghana and South Africa.

Today I was looking at this movie, Educating the Mobile Generation.  In this movie even laptops are seen as very '90s.  Today everything is smaller and more portable and students are using these computers as their digital paper and pencils.  I've come from a school where in Grades 9 - 12 all students had tablets.  We don't seem to be going that way here, but this year we have introduced iPod Touches into the primary school, and I think it's a good time now to reflect on how we are doing with these and whether we want to invest in more next year.  All the classes who have used these so far have been enthusiastic - the students have seemed more engaged and focused, though perhaps it is too early to say whether or not the learning has been deeper.  I'm wondering if we are now at the stage where the iPhone, or the iPod Touches or iPads are the computers?  Is the idea of a computer lab, or even carts of laptops also very "last century"?  Certainly I think, if cost is an issue, if we want all children to have a computer, then these mobile devices are more affordable.  They are small, easy for students to carry around and use and don't involve having to buy lots of expensive software, everything we have used so far has been free or very low cost apps - making our software budget almost negligible.  If the future is that everything is available everywhere, then these devices have no logistical issues, no problems with space and are only a fraction of the cost of desktops and laptops.

In the movie we hear that mobile technology will make the biggest change to our lives in the future - more so than the PC and more than the internet.  So if that is the case, we need to be investing more time into studying how best to use them to transform learning, and we need to change the focus away from what are going to do to how we are going to do it.

Photo Credit:  sms ... by couleurs gm

No comments:

Post a Comment