Friday, May 23, 2014

Ban Mobile Devices?

p. 219 Should mobile computers and devices be banned from the classroom?

Are mobile computers and devices too distracting in the classroom? Why? Yes, mobile computers and devices can be distracting in the classroom, but it is up to the teacher to help students understand how to use these devices for positive educational purposes and not be distracted by them. One method to keep students engaged is to have students answer a quick question at the beginning of class using Poll Everywhere which is a program that students can text something to and see changing results on a graph. The potential distraction can then be turned into a positive learning experience. Other teachers have used Poll Everywhere for similar interaction like in the article from Transforming Education through Technology journal

Should instructors, departments, or entire schools be able to ban mobile computers and devices in the classroom? Why or why not? In article by NBC ( ) it discussed how schools have been banning devices in the classroom, but students are bringing and using them anyway. These devices have so many applications that make them useful for instruction that I do not believe they should be banned. When I was teaching a geometry class, I actually had students text me answers in class to questions I posed. This allowed students to answer without the fear of shame or embarrassment  from fellow students about getting a wrong answer. I would text back that they were right or needed to try again. It was an amazing tool to help keep those students engaged and it helped me to make sure all students were attempting to answer the question. Officially at that time all electronic devices were forbidden in school. I had advocated for their use in class for educational purposes and I was allowed to attempt their educational use with students using their own devices. It had a positive effect on the students I used it with.

What are proper and improper uses of mobile computers and devices in the classroom? Why? I think in order to use mobile devices properly in the classroom, a teacher has to play with and experiment with similar devices in order to make the best use of them in the classroom. Just getting a bunch of iPads or other mobile device for classroom use without allowing a teacher to become familiar with the device first, benefits no one because the educational uses often get passed over for more non-educational uses that a student may use it for. At there are teacher resources that discuss how to implement a 1 to 1 technology iniative. Some proper ways of using mobile devices would be to increase interaction in real time, give access to applications to support learning, and increase individualization of education.

Is the use of a mobile computer and devices more of a distraction than taking notes or doodling in a notebook pad during class? Why or why not? This educause article discussed how to take mobile devices from distraction to engagement.  I do not think that the mobile devices are the cause of the distraction, they are a symptom of classroom climate. It is a teacher’s responsibility to make their class interactive as possible that a student doesn’t have time to be distracted by a mobile device or even just stare out the window. In the educause article it said “distractions caused by computers might be the result of a failure to involve students in the classroom rather than the reason they are not engaged.” This supports my concern that it isn’t the object itself that distracts, but the lack of meaningful classroom interaction with the teacher and other students that allows a student to use their mobile device or notes as a distraction. Another valuable idea is that “professors can actually contract with students to elicit their self-regulation”. Depending on the age of the students, these kinds of contracts will likely have varied success. Helping students to be able to learn self control is a priceless gift to them as they prepare for the work world. If a teacher is using a varied amount of active learning activities in the classroom that require “constant feedback, such as questions and answers, discussions, general assignment feedback, group collaboration, and hands-on activities” then mobile devices could be a tool to aid in these active learning activities, rather than a distraction.

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