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Mobile devices put students in control

By Nicole Krueger 3/21/2017 Mobile learning

Two teachers have incorporated mobile devices into their lesson plans. The first wheels a cart of iPads into the classroom, sets it aside for later and begins lecturing. The second hands out the devices immediately and says, “You have all the knowledge I have on your iPad. Now go.”

In the first classroom, “the kids are going to be thinking, ‘When are we gonna use the iPads?’ the whole time,” said instructional coach Aaron Svoboda. In the second example, he added, “the teacher isn’t saying a word, but she’s walking around answering their questions, maybe enhancing or remediating as needed. It becomes a student-centered classroom.”

True technology integration means the use of devices isn’t limited to a single activity — it’s incorporated throughout the entire lesson. While the content should still remain the focus of any lesson plan, many teachers are surprised to discover that technology can enhance learning at every point in a lesson.

“You have to do it side-by-side with your lesson planning,” Svoboda said. “Essentially, you sit down with whatever lesson plan format your district wants you to use, and you add a column for what technology and what web tools would work for each part of the lesson. You have to have the blueprint before you build the house.”

He cited the following benefits to using mobile technology throughout an entire lesson:

Heightened engagement

Even if you don’t remain quite as hands-off as the teacher in the second example, you can still allow students to participate in the lesson by swiping, pinching and following along on their devices as you speak.

“The device now becomes an engagement tool for the entire lesson,” Svoboda said. “In the classroom, we define engagement as kids writing, speaking, doing, creating. Learning has to be visible. Sitting there politely, not saying a word, is not engagement.”

Self-differentiated instruction

By allowing kids to follow along with your lecture on their mobile devices, you give them more control over the pace at which they learn. They can back up the slides to review challenging material or skip ahead to see what’s coming.

“It makes the teacher more purposeful with the use of technology, so it’s not just something cool to do,” Svoboda said.

Student-driven learning

Teaching in the digital age is becoming less about directly transferring knowledge and more about showing students how sift through vast amounts of information to find the knowledge they need.

“There’s a brilliance to when you would ask your dad, ‘What’s the capital of Virginia’ and he would tell you to look it up,” Svoboda said. “We don’t do that in the classroom because we think we’re the ultimate source of information. But that’s not the case. We can give them the resources they need, point them in the right direction and if they wander off the path we get them back on it.”

This is an updated version of a post that originally published on Sept. 26, 2014.

Want to find out more about transforming mobile technology into a powerful learning platform? Apply for our free Verizon Mobile Learning Academy.

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