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Monday, April 9, 2012

Instructional Computing II Journal 5: Going Mobile

- How indispensable are mobile computing devices in your life? Are they an "extension" of who you are?
- How can mobile computing devices be used in disadvantaged or underdeveloped environments?

How do I love my mobile devices? Let me count the ways...I could honestly write a love letter or poem to my iPhone or iPad.  They are a part of me.  If I forget them at home, I am lost.  I feel like I left my right hand at home (which actually wouldn't be too bad because I am a lefty.)  A day without mobile technologies has me feeling disconnected, lonely, and disorganized.  It's insane that little pieces of metal and glass can have that effect on you but it is a sad truth.

This year I was given the amazing opportunity to attend FETC 2012 at my school's request. While at the conference so many of the trending topics were mobile technologies in the classroom.  I went to sessions on 1:1 mobile computing, BYOD trends, and even app shootouts.  It was fantastic to see so many people passionate (and nerdy) about technology like me!

The BYOD (bring your own device) trend is specifically useful for those working in schools that do not have devices to provide to students.  On the IT end, this means expanding your network, protecting your network if multiple devices will be accessing it, and setting strict regulations of use.  On the teachers end, it means creative curriculum and strong classroom management.  I know many teachers who wouldn't touch student-owned devices with a 10-foot pole!

If we can't provide students with technology in the classroom; then who are we to deny them the right to use their own?  I read an article recently (found here: Students Demand Technology) that really got me thinking.  The article is about a group of students who pleaded their case at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in San Francisco earlier this year. One student was quoted:

"Why should l have to go to a library outside my school to have access to computers that are available, but limited? Yes, we're learning to type on our T-Mobile Sidekicks, because we're taking our own initiative. But we're crucified by a process that's making us a permanent underclass. We are forced to stay at the bottom, and this lack of technology will not allow us to develop skills for the job market. Budget cuts can no longer be a reason why me and my peers are tech-illiterate. We've had this problem since before the economic crisis."
Powerful words from such a young person; a person who has experience and self-awareness beyond her years.  And this young woman is right!  Why should she continue to be disadvantaged?  She wants to use whatever she has to get ahead so we deny her that right?  I don't know the right answer to these questions but I do know that there will be a shift in the coming years and mobile is the way to go.  Mobile learning means that the knowledge acquisition and the communication can continue outside the 4 walls of the classroom.  It allows student voice, choice, and preparation for the future.  How can any of these things be bad?

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