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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Take the Leap into Mobile Learning

Cellphones. Every student uses one. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, most teenagers get their first cell phone by the age of 12 or 13. So why aren’t they incorporated more into the classroom? Many teachers are afraid of venturing out into the world of using cell phones in lessons, but the truth is, cell phones are becoming more and more common in schools. Within the last year, cell phones have gone from banned toys to encouraged tools.

Teachers can have trouble incorporating new media into the classroom, especially cell phones. It’s a risky venture to use something students are used to playing with and turning it into something they learn with. So where do you start?

edYOUcator was made for this. It’s hard to keep up with new technology, trends, and things that you’ve never used, or maybe never even heard of before. edYOUcator helps you find the best lesson plans, especially when you have no idea where to start.

This week, I came across some awesome plans on edYOUcator that use cell phones. They are great starter plans to ease you and your class into mobile learning. Mobile Learning Lesson Plans, found on the Scholastic web site, offers simple step-by-step instructions for educators. These steps even include instructions on setting up other media used in the plans, like Flickr.

My favorite plan is Collecting Biological Phenomena in Everyday Life. In this lesson students use their cell phones to take pictures of plants and animals they observe in their everyday life. Then they send the pictures to Flickr with a short description of what they found and where they found it. In class they are able to put all their photos on a Flickr map and the teacher covers biological classifications. How cool is that? Most kids use their phones to interact with friends and family, why not have them interact with learning too?

Not every student will use them only for learning. Inappropriate use of cell phones is one risk teachers take when using them in the classroom. The Pew survey mentioned earlier stated that 26% of teens have been bullied via text message and that 15% of teens age 12-17 have received a "sext message.” Luckily, lesson plans like these present a great opportunity for educators to teach mobile safety. Include a safety lesson or review every time cell phones are used in the classroom. However, the more engaged your students are, the less likely they are to stray away from your lesson.

These plans are just one example of the great resources available on edYOUcator. Not ready to use cell phones in your classroom? Start with something small like a blog. Do a quick search in edYOUcator for "blog" and pick a plan. This will help both you and your students begin with a familiar way of media based learning. Then you can progress to using different types of media.

edYOUcator helps teachers think outside of the box. Use it to help broaden your horizons and you’ll have the opportunity to grow and learn with your students.

Do you have any mobile learning lesson plans you would like to share? E-mail us at!

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