Thursday, February 16, 2017

Using technology to personalize learning - part 5: mobile devices

As we discuss personalized learning at school, I'm often part of conversations about giving students a choice about how they express their understanding. Inevitably this may depend on the students' ability to choose the tools he or she wants to use. At school we have a BYOD programme, so students already have a choice of which laptop they bring to school. However, they do have to have a laptop as their primary device - just relying on a mobile device is not an option at this time. What we discovered, through various prototypes over the past 5 years, is that mobile devices do offer a different way of doing things - and that one device may not be the answer to all of a student's learning needs.

In our Grade 4 we have just completed a historical narrative which formed the summative assessment for the Where We Are in Place and Time unit. Students were given the choice of making paper slides, using Book Creator, iMovie and Voicethread. At the same time students were encouraged to use whatever devices they had for making these narratives. Some students continued to work on their laptops, others brought in mobile devices from home. Some students even used a mixture of devices, for example green screening on one device and putting the project together on another.

One advantage is that students are able to use the devices that they already have at home instead of or in addition to the laptops that they use in school. These other devices are likely to be the ones that they will be using in the future. Being flexible about the devices they are using is also a skill necessary for the future, as they need to adapt to the rapidly changing world of technology.   Students then published their narratives onto the Grade 4 blog - another tool that they are becoming increasingly confident in using and which supports the aim of the Grade 4 teachers to have their students become global communicators.

Photo Credit: Zach Frailey Flickr via Compfight cc

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