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Mobile devices in the classroom: on reflection

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Started by Tessa Gray 14 May 2012 11:32am () Replies (1)

imageRecently Albany Senior High School hosted a professional learning opportunity on Mobile learning devices, where classroom practitioners and presenters shared how these tehnologies are having an impact on teaching and learning. BeL national facilitators, Anne Sturgess and Mary-Anne Murphy reflect on this occasion.



Albany Senior High, one knew that this was a learning environment that had broken the 20th Century mould. Open spaces with seamless integration between learning "hubs" provided the perfect environment for sharing and collaboration.


In a casual Pecha-Kucha style, the day involved educators sharing their practices around their use of mobile technologies. Topics ranged from the use of augmented realities, iPad apps, LMS and Google docs and smartphones to name just a few.


Like a magpie happening upon a box of shiny beads, one could have easily been taken by the "wow" factor of such technologies. However the question of "To what extent is this technology being used to cause deep thinking?" resounded in my head throughout the day. Having visited a couple of the schools who presented, I knew that they were indeed using their technologies in deep, meaningful ways; which I felt was perhaps not always explicit in their presentations. As a facilitator, it called me to reflect on how I convey the use of the technologies; is it the tech or the teach that comes first?


So like any good magpie, I did come away with some shiny beads of information; over which I will ponder their most effective use in assisting our youth to become critical, creative, global thinkers.


My 'goodies bag' contained:

1) seeing a school built (literally) to accommodate learners as opposed to simply containing students and teachers,

2) discussion with teachers about shifts in teacher practice that they're seeing in their schools - lots of discussion about students using digital tools though not enough about how these tools are improving learning for students,

3) the presentation by Barbara Reid provided some coherence - she linked the tools to learning outcomes and showed how a combination of appropriate tools plus strategies are effective in achieving identified learning outcomes,

4) reinforced for me that a blended approach really is best - I took notes using my (new) iPad and experienced difficulty switching between note-taking mode and contributing to twitter chat and the google doc set up by the presenter - I should have used my tried and true notebook (paper variety) for my notes.


It was useful to find out about good practice in schools with which I have little or no involvement and it provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss and reflect with colleagues and practicing teachers. The place was buzzing with the excitement for learning that we want our students to experience.


Professional learning opportunities where practitioners can share authentic e-learning in context, is inspiring and valuable. Keep an eye out for the up-coming EduCamp series 2012 around the country as well.


Image supplied from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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