My last couple of blog posts here have focused on pedagogical possibilities of a class full of students with smart phones or laptops. While I’m excited by those possibilities, I also think it’s worth considering some of the more practical aspects of using mobile devices in the classroom. Jason B. Jones, who teaches English at Central Connecticut State University, recently shared on the Prof. Hacker blog his experience teaching a summer course in which every student was given an iPod Touch. His “lessons learned” focused mostly on practical issues:
- Plan to deal with access issues. For instance, some of his students didn’t have their own computers, making it difficult for them to sync their iPod Touches with new content.
- Don’t assume that your students are as tech savvy as you might think they are. As D. Askey said in the comments on Jason’s post, “The ability to use Facebook adeptly does not indicate technical or Internet savvy in any way whatsoever.”
- On the other hand, students can come up with uses you might not consider. Make sure you learn from their ingenuity.
- Jason’s campus network didn’t allow peer-to-peer wireless connections, which rendered some of the apps he wanted to use inoperative. Watch out for network issues like this.
- If you’re lending devices to students for a course, make sure you have a plan for getting them back at the end of the semester!
Are you experimenting with using mobile devices in the classroom? If so, what lessons have you learned?