A lot of high schools are starting to use tablets, especially the iPad, in the classroom. The books are on there and they can use the internet during the lesson to look up information, related to the lesson. But are the students really using the tablets for the right things? How can we as teachers be sure about that?
Example: I was walking around during one of the lessons I was giving at my placement school. It was a 1st year vmbo-t class and they where supposed to make their homework. But soon I started to notice that some of the students where getting distracted by something on their ipad. I can’t really walk around all the time to make sure that every students is doing what he/she is supposed to do, so how can I make sure that they are using their tablet the right way?
This article For Schools Implementing iPads, the Importance of Being Patient tells us that we need to be patience about using iPads in a classroom. It is equally important for school leaders to acknowledge and say out loud that the road is bumpy and it is supposed to be bumpy, and uncomfortable at times. The article gives us 10 guidelines for successful use of tablets and I believe that besides following those 10 guidelines, we just need to trust the students that they will use the tablets for the right reason during the lessons.
Another article about how to go from toy to tool with an iPad
And what about smartphones? At my placement school do the students have to turn their phone off and put it at the table in the front of the class as soon as they enter the classroom.
Yes smartphones can cause a distraction, and you can never really be sure about what the students are doing on their phone, just as with a tablet. But there are also a lot of positive things when it comes to using smartphones during a lesson.
It gives a window of opportunity to do something different, it is more fun, gives variety to a lesson and can actually relaxed the students more if they can have their phone on the table instead of in their pockets of in front of the classroom.
I’ve just read an interesting article from Jesse Brown: Why using smart phones in the classroom makes smarter kids.
Article Jesse Brown
According to this article are changes to the way we teach and test our kids long overdue. Using technology in the classroom is seen as a natural transition for the students, but painfully hard for the schools. In this article you can read a couple of different views of different people on the use of smart phones in a class.
For example: Teachers who are already experimenting with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) speak ecstatically of students’ reactions—how engaged and enthusiastic they are about learning. Traditionally, schoolwork has been a one-way conversation between child and teacher, but with BYOD, students are encouraged to post their work on learning blogs and collaborate through apps that let many hands edit a single document.
The article tells us that solving a problem with the help of technology is not seen as “cheating” now a days. It’s how just about everyone, outside of school, solves just about every problem. Problem solving with the help of a smart phone requires critical thinking, multiple literacies, the ability to analyze information from different sources and some basic tech know-how.
To graduate a student without these abilities is unconscionable.