Schools across the country are increasingly starting to use mobile devices like tablets and smartphones as classroom tools. But some educators are still skeptical that devices will distract students as much or more than they enhance the learning environment. Because it’s still fairly new, there have been few quantitative studies, but Project Tomorrow and Kajeet for Education recently completed a study of mobile learning among 136 fifth graders at Falconer Elementary School, a Chicago public school where 94 percent of students receive free and reduced lunch. The Making Learning Mobile Project study documents how four different fifth-grade teachers and their students used the tablets they were given both in class and at home once the school day was over.
The study finds that students used the tablets for more activities than even they expected. Though only 56 percent of students said they envisioned using the tablet for internet research before the study, that number turned out to be 93 percent after the study was completed. Only six percent of students thought they might use the tablet to create videos, when in fact 39 percent completed video projects. Other common uses included project work, educational games, homework, checking grades, communicating with teachers and classmates, receiving reminders, and organizing schoolwork.
“To fully capitalize on the benefits of the mobile devices, teachers must redesign in many circumstances their lessons and instructional strategies,” the report said. “This is hard work that requires time and administrative support.” Part of that redesign process needs to center around clarifying instructional goals and defining how the technology helps teachers better reach them.
Read the entire article by Katrina Schwartz on MindShift at http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/12/tablets-for-fifth-graders-teachers-try-different-tactics/
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