Over the past week, I have been working on developing a lesson plan that incorporates mobile learning in the classroom.  At my current school, all students have MacBook’s, most have iPads, and of course everyone has a smart phone.  So, we continually try to do things to integrate technology into the classroom.  By no means am I an expert in this, but it is fun to learn through a bit of research and thinking to “back in the day” about the many advantages and disadvantages of using this innovative strategy of technology in the classroom.


Advantages (main ideas from Wylie – Mobile Learning Technologies for 21st Century Classrooms):

Provides ease of use on a budget – I was just talking with my wife last week about how much of college textbooks cost us each semester.  I can remember spending $200-$300 per book sometimes depending on just how “lucky” I got.  Now, there are a million different ways to access material on laptops, tablets, smart phones, and e-readers, and usually it is for a fraction of the cost of a print book.

More flexibility – Remember the days of carrying your backpack everywhere with you?  Now, it seems that everything that we once put into our backpacks can be contained on one of the aforementioned devices.  What does that mean?  Heck, its much easier to read a textbook on the bus home when its one your smartphone in comparison to pulling the big bulky thing out of your backpack.

Students are more engaged – Textbooks just do not “do it” for today’s students.  The idea that they can google the exact topic discussed in their traditional textbook and find a broader quantity of information coupled with much more up to date facts just trumps the thought of sitting and reading a spine-and-page textbook.  Plus, the availability of videos, news articles, and accompanying resources online makes learning more fun for students.


Disadvantages:

Distractions… – Of course you’ve used a laptop to read a news article before.  Did you ever get a notification of an email that just came through?  How about those advertisements in the margins?  Isn’t that game you like just a click away?  Did the Dallas Cowboys win?  There’s no doubt that distractions are ever present in the use of technology.

Connection Problems – What happens when you have a term paper due tomorrow, but your wifi goes down?  There is no traditional ink and paper research that you printed.  You were relying on just pulling up those resources online.  Oops… No internet means no term paper.  While its becoming more of a rarity these days, we still have problems with reliability when it comes to technology.

Expensive to Replace – In classrooms of the 20th century, there were arguably not too many breakable things present.  Well, besides that crazy Chemistry teacher’s beaker and graduated cylinder collection.  Really, how expensive it is to replace those though?  With the introduction of the many different electronic devices to classrooms, now we must think about how to teach students to use them properly and minimize the risk of breaking something.


Reference:

Wylie, J. (n.d.). Mobile Learning Technologies for 21st Century Classrooms. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3754742

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