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.
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.
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.