Module 3 (Part A): What are classroom technologies?

Hardware in Classrooms:

Investigate one hardware device that you can use in the classroom. What are the benefits and challenges of this hardware device? How does it enhance learning? Have you discovered some good resources for the use of this device?

With the emergence of ubiquitous mobile computing that is increasingly cloud based (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 37), I would like to investigate the use of handheld smart phones as a hardware device in the classroom, specifically to enable a student response system via web2.0 and ‘social software’ and as a tool to facilitate student/teacher/peer collaboration.

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Source: http://www.gettingsmart.com/2013/01/part-1-44-smart-ways-to-use-smartphones-in-class/

Smartphones allow the function of a wide variety of applications that integrate with web 2.0 software and are feature-rich multimedia devices that have enormous capability. The personalisation, connectedness, and flexibility this hardware affords, aligns its use in education with the multimodal view of literacy and constructivist theory that suggests humans construct meaning from their personal experience (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 51). Cochrane and Bateman (2010, p. 2) suggest that some benefits of smartphones include this embodiment of authentic learning that facilitates ‘anytime, anywhere student-centred learning, the flexibility to turn any space into a digital learning space,  the ability to engage students with the affordances of mobile technologies such as web 2.0, and the bridging of the digital divide by enabling a learning context with a creation tool that is increasingly owned by students.

Cloonan (2012, p. 167) argues that for students to develop the multimodal literacies required for the 21st-century, students need the tools to read, listen, talk, write, present, view, respond, record, locate, analyse, interact, design and create a wide range of print, digital and other texts. Smart phones enable all these skills and can be used as hardware in the classroom to bring sophistication and complexity to learning. Traxler points out that students no longer need to engage with information and discussion at the expense of real life, but can do so as part of real life as they move about the world, using their own devices to connect them to people, ideas, and information of their own choosing (Traxler, 2010, p. 3).  The smart phone can support knowledge sharing and offer collaboration opportunities not otherwise available. Key challenges of using smart phones as hardware in the classroom include the physical screen size, the need to sync apps across multiple devices, possible network issues and the infrastructure required to support a spike in internet use, and legal and ethical issues surrounding safety, plagiarism and piracy (Pegrum, Oakley, & Faulkner, 2013, p. 75).

Whilst I believe the smart phone may enhance student motivation, engagement and open a world of learning, the acquisition of new technology should never overshadow the pedagogical practice that supports its use in the classroom. Below are some references, resources, and articles that both encourage and challenge the use of smartphones.

https://www.edutopia.org/mobile-devices-learning-resource-guide

http://www.gettingsmart.com/2013/01/part-1-44-smart-ways-to-use-smartphones-in-class/

http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/media/1918840/

References

Cloonan, A. (2012). Multimodal literacies: New approaches and traditional concerns in the suburban classroom. In R. Henderson (Ed.), Teaching Literacies in the Middle Years: Pedagogies and Diversity (pp. 166- 189). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Cochrane, T., & Bateman, R. (2010). Smartphones give you wings: Pedagogical affordances of mobile web 2.0. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(1), 1-14.

Cosier, M., Gomez, A., McKee, A., & Maghzi, K. S. (2015). Smart phones permitted: How teachers use text messaging to collaborate. Educ Inf Technol, 20, 374-358. doi:DOI 10.1007/s10639-013-9288-2

Pegrum, M., Oakley, G., & Faulkner, R. (2013). Schools going mobile: A study of the adoption of mobile handheld technologies in Western Australian independent schools. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(1), 66-81.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Intergrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited.

Traxler, J. (2010). Will Student Devices Deliver Innovation, Inclusion, and Transformation? Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology (RCET), 6(1), 3-15.

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13 thoughts on “Module 3 (Part A): What are classroom technologies?

  1. adelframes says:

    Hi Angela,

    Great post! I agree with you – smart phones have such enormous capability that it will surely soon be the most prominent classroom hardware. A few years ago the most desirable mobile phones were the smallest ones – we all laughed at the ‘bricks’ our parents carried around. But now we need bigger screens to allow us to learn, play, make movies, communicate and shop. iPhone 7? No thanks, it will have to be the iPhone 7 Plus. Not that I can afford it.

    Best wishes,

    Adel

    https://adelframesblog.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Adel, thanks for commenting!
      I use my iPhone 6s for just about everything so it makes sense to me that we should be encouraging their use in the classroom by utilising technology that students are already engaging with. Obviously this presents some challenges in keeping students on task but sound pedagogy and thorough planning could make smart phones revolutionary for education. I am full of optimism and ideals at this stage of my learning but I’m sure those with more experience might express an entirely different view here.
      I still have a tiny Nokia somewhere, and that was only 8 years ago. I wonder what tools with be available in 8 years from now.

      Like

  2. Hi Angela,
    I too believe that smart phones will have their place is our classrooms in the near future. Ipads and chrome books are already in place so why not smaller devices. My only concern is that when do students/ people get the chance to “disconnect”. You just have to walk into a shopping centre to see a hundred people all with their phones in their hand or a group of kids all looking down at their phones instead of talking with each other. It worries me that so many are socialising through their phone that real relationship aren’t being made, and by adding smart phones to classrooms students may not get a chance to communicate verbally and make these connections.
    This is only food for thought.
    Adam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Adam,
      Thanks so much for your insight. I definitely share your concerns however, I think iPhones enable people to build networks and connections beyond face to face relationships. This is where connectivist theory argues that knowledge and learning is happening, it is developed within the technology. I think the reality of the digital age and especially for the next generation, is that lives are built around a type of augmented reality. If i have to build a relationship with my students via web 2.0 using smart phones or other such hardware to motivate and engage them, then I hope to adapt whatever strategies I can to do this.
      I hear you though, I very much value face to face connection but cant deny the potential of a learning tool such as the smart phone. Here I am responding to your comment on my phone as I wait for an appointment, I’m making a connection with you and reflecting my thoughts. I think as teachers, we can model digitally responsible behaviour as best we can. I would certainly be having a verbal chat about everything in moderation though, and encouraging face to face connections in other ways.
      Thanks again for your thoughts, truly appreciate your input.

      Angela

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I total agree with your opinion. If we as teachers need to use any device to connect with students then I would be first in line to use it. My post was just to see your opinion on this matter. It’s always good to try to look at it from a different point of view just in case your missing something. I look forward to reading more of your blogs.
    Adam

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look forward to reading yours too Adam! I enjoy engaging with a diverse range of opinions. Thought i should add that i tend to limit my children with technology though they are only 2, 5 & 7. I definitely prefer they play outside. Yet I feel immensely excited and completely opposite about integrating technology in the classroom. I see it as the path toward development of 21st-century skills. Interesting.

      Like

  4. Cassandra Saklaoui says:

    Hi Angela,

    Wow what a great post. I really enjoyed this part…

    Smartphones allow the function of a wide variety of applications that integrate with web 2.0 software and are feature-rich multimedia devices that have enormous capability. The personalisation, connectedness, and flexibility this hardware affords, aligns its use in education with the multimodal view of literacy and constructivist theory that suggests humans construct meaning from their personal experience (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 51).

    I often find myself taking photos of students work, sharing that with other students, sending the photo with a comment in an email to a teacher and so on. I’ve often asked students to take photos of places they have gone to and include them in their work or to document their construction of an assignment which is in line with what you have noted in your post about humans constructing meaning from their personal experience.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cassandra, thanks for taking the time to comment.
      I like that you have asked your students to include their images in their work, it makes the learning authentic and relevant to the student. I think smart phones are an untapped resource in the classroom, there is certainly a lack of current literature to support its use yet I am convinced of the relative advantage of this tool. Thanks again
      Angela

      Like

  5. Hi Angela,

    I really enjoyed your blog post.

    I like how you have drawn on Traxler’s article, specifically “he points out that students no longer need to engage with information and discussion at the expense of real life, but can do so as part of real life as they move about the world, using their own devices to connect them to people, ideas, and information of their own choosing” (Traxler, 2010, p. 3). I agree with this statement. However not all students are like this, I often think scholars or researchers generalise youth with an association to technology.

    Some of my students on my placement, didn’t like technology and the use of it. It would almost create and stress and anxiety. Which leads back to the article “formal and informal use of technology”. Thus, drawing on the point the positive role teachers need to have on technology to mentor our students.

    Liked by 1 person

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