CBC’s Spark (and others) on cellphones for learning

April 26, 2010

Our CBC (Canadian Broadcast Company) has a great series of interview/podcasts focusing on technology. Hosted by Nora Young, the series is called Spark. A couple of recent interviews have been with teachers (Homer Spring and Marie Bjerede) who use cellphones in the classroom and have experienced some good results. I encourage folks to contribute to the feedback on the CBC site if you have thoughts on this topic.

http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2010/04/full-interview-homer-spring-on-cell-phones-in-the-classroom/

http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2010/03/full-interview-marie-bjerede-on-cell-phones-in-the-classroom/

I’ve posted about mobile learning previously (e.g. https://elizabethtweets.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/228/ ) in the context of literacy in developing nations. Because mobile devices are accessible in ways that computers have not been, rural areas in Africa and elsewhere are finding that technology is finally accessible to them and the benefits to literacy seem very obvious.  It’s interesting to compare the North American views, where cellphones are often banned from the classroom. In fact, when teachers decide to include mobile devices as part of the learning repertoire, the results can make headline news (see the links below).

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100426/NEWS/100429736

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/apr/25/pa-students-use-phones-to-discuss-bullying/life-education/

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2p6iUw/www.eschoolnews.com/2010/04/22/panel-cell-phones-have-much-potential-in-classrooms/

At the same time, when I read about cellphone/internet addiction http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63M4QN20100423?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews&utm_source=Reuters&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=reuters+tech+news I believe that misuse is a real possibility – again pointing to the need for strategies to support thoughtful use of these types of tools.

I’m hoping that a good conversation will emerge from this. How can a learning environment be designed to maximize what’s good about mobile learning and reduce the potential problems?