Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mobile use in schools - Canadian news link - Local TL conference video

Mobile phone use is prolific amongst students though many public schools restrict their use. Western governments are currently reassessing their mobile media policies and education institutions are exploring the possibilities of enhancing digital pedagogy in schools.

Web 2.0 applications that support mobile phone use have been used in a United States charter school for "at-risk" students in Florida. Using Google SMS search one educator used this feature to text message search queries and message back the results in a text collaboration exercise with high school students. "Mobcasts" were created by using the phone to create an instant "voiceblog" to reply to questions posed by the instructor. The "mobcast" was seen as "
an example of a student's higher order reflective thinking" (Geary, 2008, pp. 30-31). Some problems experienced were not being able to print out the results but it was seen that "Web 2.0 tools are changing that" (Geary, 2008,p. 30)

Some government officials are responding to the growing movement of mobile use in schools. The Premier of Ottawa, Canada is advocating the educational use of cell phones in schools. On the 15th of September, 2010 CTV Ottawa posted this news item:

Another news article in the School Library Journal in the USA cites "changes to the Federal Communications Commission" policy to allow in school use of mobile devices in an "E-Rate Program" (Barack, 2010).

At a recent conference (18-10-10) for teacher librarians in Brisbane, Australia at the Queensland Academy of Science and Technology, future trends in information literacy and technology provision were explored. Digital technologies such as iPads and eReaders were demonstrated. Prue, a QUT Masters of Education in Teacher Librarianship student and teacher librarian, explained how she uses her iPad and associated apps to enhance her digital pedagogy. (See video below)

These examples from the Western world of recent government regulation and a local educational conference exploring mobile media use in schools would indicate that the adoption of mobile devices in classrooms around the world is inevitable.

Barack, L. (2010) "E-Rate Revision Supports Cell Phone use in Schools" School Library Journal retrieved 15-10-10

Geary, M. (2008) Supporting Cell Phone Use in the Classroom Florida Educational Journal Fall Issue pp. 29-31

CTV Canadian Television Ottowa "Premier Open to allowing cellphones in class" September 15, 2010 retrieved on 15-10-10


  1. I agree that mobile phones will eventually be used as legitimate digital technology in the classroom, but not without much debate about the possible disruptive potential of these devices. Sharples (2002) suggests we have 3 options when it comes to using mobile learning devices in the classroom. That is we can ban them, ignore them or use them and learn to manage the disruptions they will inevitably cause. He suggests that the skills of constructing and exploring knowledge through conversing and collaborating, and having to exercise a measure of self control when using these devices are the skills and attributes that any future employer would be happy to see in a prospective employee. I think the inevitability of mobile devices is upon us, however we need to be sure we design a curriculum that provides opportunities to use such technology to create relevant, life type experiences that have an educational purpose in the lives of the young people in our classrooms.

  2. After reading this blog post I did some research and discovered that there is much current debate about allowing mobile phones in the classroom. It seems as though the people who are very against the concept think that if phones are allowed in school then students will be distracted by continually texting, gaming, emailing, checking facebook or twittering. The real question up for debate should be ‘how can mobile phones be used in the classroom to enhance digital literacy?’

    Schools have an important role to play in developing skills in digital literacy. Teachers need to adapt their pedagogical approach in order to include mobile media as teaching aids. Most mobile phones now have internet connection, cameras, video capability and a wide variety of other applications which could be put to good use in an educational setting. ‘Rather than preventing young people from engaging creatively with technology, a focus on digital literacy in the classroom can help them to expand and extend their use of technology’ (Hague & Payton, 2010). Mobile phones are devices that young people are very familiar with but not all young people are able to create, collaborate and communicate effectively. Teachers need to facilitate the development of ICT literacy in order to enable young people to participate and interact ethically, competently and confidently in our rapidly changing technological world


    Hague, C., & Payton, S. (2010). Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum Handbook. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from Futurelab.