Embrace them! Mobile devices are ubiquitous and they are here to stay. Instead of banning them from our schools’ classrooms, let’s give educators the support and resources necessary to adopt the notion that mobile devices can be effective learning tools for students.
Participants in this year’s QUEST Science Education Institute explored the idea of using cell phones and mobile devices as educational tools at a recent workshop. When asked about their view on the topic (through a text poll!), most responded that they are ready to embrace this technology, although there were some teachers that still have hesitations. All of their responses can be viewed below. The poll sparked a rich discussion on everything from concerns about inappropriate content to potential cost savings by schools and districts to high engagement by students.
We also took a look at how social media can be integrated into lessons with the use of cell phones. KQED Education’s Do Now activities employ Twitter as a way to engage students in sharing viewpoints on a timely topic. We investigated apps for mobile devices that allow students to record and edit images, video, and sound for use in media-making projects. Many cell phones these days take high-resolution images and video, making them ideal for capturing activities both in the classroom and out in the field. Check out SoundCloud* and DropVox for sound recording, the Garageband app for sound editing and the iMovie app for video editing. Files can be managed and shared with apps such as DropBox* and box.net*. All of these apps are available for Apple products; those with an asterisk are also available for Android.
And, for all you science teachers, science apps are numerous and can bring science alive with interactive features. Here is just a sampling of cool science apps:
- Cell and Cell Structure $1.99
- Periodic Table of the Elements Free
- Vernier Video Physics $2.99
- Nasa App HD Free
- Star Walk $4.99
- LeafSnap Free
And, of course, the apps keep changing and more keep coming, so stay tuned for more app overviews to come!