Mobile Pedagogy coming to the classroom

Date May 26, 2009

iTouch
The (CC) image “iTouch” uploaded to Flickr by Américo Nunes was found by searching “iTouch”.

In the past I’ve always had a no show policy for electronics in my high school English classrooms. This year that opinion has begun to shift. My syllabus clearly states that all mobile phones will be kept away and if I see them at all, then I will confiscate them; I’ve confiscated my fair share of cell phones & iPods over the years. After Christmas break when the gadgets came out, I didn’t say anything. I just waited to see what would happen, and you know what? They were respectful. Occasionally they’d look down, check something, fire off a message and move on. Then came a bigger test. When the questions came, instead of telling them I’d get back to them, looking it up myself, etc… I told them to check for themselves. I got confused looks, but then slowly, they got it. More and more kids got it. They pulled out their mobiles and did research in the classroom.

There are several Web 2.0 tools that I know students can use with mobile technology on their phones (e.g. Utterli, Twitter, Poll Everywhere, etc…) but even I still ask, why bother? What can they do with their phones that they can’t just do when they are there in my classes. I know there are reasons to use these things outside the classroom, but, for example, why text to Poll Everywhere when we’re all sitting in the class? Together? Utterli is cool for our Rhetoric Out on the Town Assignment, and I think I am going to try to use it for that, and it’s great for recording foreign language homework, but why do we use it IN THE CLASSROOM.

Ok so this is the big question, and I’ve not discounted it. I’ve embraced it. Two of my colleagues at the college are studying Mobile Pedagogies this summer, and since this has always been rolling around my interests/issues and I recently fell into an iPod (door prize, conference), I am not the proud owner of an iPod Touch. I do not have AT&T, nor do I have an iPhone, but an iPod Touch gets me everything but the voice and camera. I am going to research and play all summer. Watch for my fall syllabus policies.