31 July 2009

Cellphones as Instructional Tools

I attend this webinar which is now free on-demand (60 min.) Panelists discussed the instructional potential and ability to connect students to the Internet using mobile devices. It will only be available until January 21, 2010 at 3:00 PM Eastern standard time.

Guest panelists were Elliot Soloway , professor, School of Information, School of Education, and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan; Cathleen Norris , regents professor in the College of Information, Department of Learning Technologies, University of North Texas; Liz Kolb , education technology instructor, University of Michigan and Madonna University, author, Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education; and Ron Myers, principal, Trinity Meadows Intermediate School, Keller, Texas.

Mr Soloway and Ms Norris discussed the rise of the Mobile Generation and the opportunities that can be used to increase student achievement. Cellphones are mobile and can be used 24/7 in many different locations. Cellphones are personal and immediate, so they increase student engagement in learning. They can be used seamlessly with the right leadership and curriculum integration at a lower cost than 1:1 laptops.

Mr. Myers described a pilot project that took place in his school. He talked about why the project was iniatiated; how the project was conceived, planned, and conducted; and the outcomes.

Ms. Kolb spoke about the practical uses of basic cellphones in the classroom. She gave examples of podcasting, photo posting, and mobile blogging and included suggestions for online tools for each type of use. For more from Ms. Kolb see her presentation during K-12 Online Conference 2007 .
After the presentations were completed, questions and answers were taken from the live audience and also questions submitted before the webinar. Discussion continues on Teacher Magazine's forum.

The webinar was hosted and sponsored by Education Week, Teacher Magazine, and Sprint. So, needless to say Sprint had "commercials" or "ads" in the middle and at the end of the webinar. They were not pushy or trying to sell their products, but rather informational about how Sprint could help educational institutions.
Here are some NECC 2009 resources that might also interest you:
  • The Cell Phones ON wiki I discovered while browsing the workshops that took place at NECC 2009. The presentation wiki shows the tools to use for classroom projects using cellphones.
  • Here's a link and video, The Missing Link: Preparing Teachers to Integrate Smartphones Effectively by Ann Cunningham and Kristin Bennett.
  • And another presentation and video, Hello? Cell Phones as Teaching Tools by Tammy Worchester.

The Nokia smartphone photo has Creative Commons license by Khedara Ariyaratne. The cellphones photo has a Creative Commons license by Bill Bradford.

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