Much buzz at ISTE last week around mobile devices. Apps for iPhones, iPods, iPads. Noises about some states with initiatives to explore, if not fund, putting devices in kids’ hands. Before you dismiss it as “techie daydream” – a recently-released federal study of ed tech reports 4% of schools provide some type of handheld for student use. OK, only 4%, but the data are from 2008. Who knew?
No doubt letting kids carry around valuable and uncontrollable handheld technology gives many educators the willies. And do we really think there will be funding anytime soon for a lot of this kind of gadgetry? Well, there’s a type of handheld gadget kids already have – 69% of kids 11-14 and 85% of kids 15 and older. Yep, it’s a cellphone, and while they’re not all smartphones, they all communicate at least via text. And unless the kids are being frisked at the door they’re carrying them into the classroom regardless of what the school rules say.
If we want the connected, collaborative classroom any time soon – maybe we should find ways to use the tech the kids already use themselves?
Mike Baum – Sophia Consulting LLC