Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amidst a Mobile Revolution in Schools, Will Old Teaching Tactics Work?



Just a few years ago, the idea of using a mobile phone as a legitimate learning tool in school seemed far-fetched, if not downright blasphemous. Kids were either prohibited from bringing their phones to school, or at the very least told to shut it off during school hours.
But these days, it’s not unusual to hear a teacher say,Class, turn on your cell. It’s time to work.”
Harvard professor Chris Dede has been working in the field of education technology for decades, and is astonished at how quickly mobile devices are penetrating in schools. “I’ve never seen technology moving faster than mobile learning,” said Dede, who teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

That’s not necessarily surprising, given that a staggering 80 percent of teens have cell phones. This penetration of mobile devices in the consumer market has also wrought what Dede describes as a “sea change” in the education landscape.

“People are talking about this being an inflection point,” said Elliot Soloway. Soloway is a professor at the School of Education at the University of Michigan, and a longtime proponent of mobile learning. “It feels like something major is about to happen. It went from a silly idea, to, ‘Of course it’s inevitable.”

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