April 08, 2008

Please, turn your mobiles on | BBC Learning column

Cell_phones Mobile phones should be brought out of the school bag, switched on and young people shown how to use them for educational good. This is what I firmly believe - education, not prohibition - and my second BBC Learning column gives reason why:

I remember when the Internet first arrived in schools how sceptical some of my teachers were. I dare some of them said: "It'll never catch on". Well, it did. Big time. It's about time schools sharpened their focus on how they can help students power up their learning with their mobile devices, rather than have them power down at the school door.

Please feel free to jump over to the BBC site to leave a comment on the story, particularly in the light of the passionate commenting and discussion on my previous mobile post, showing the potential for abuse of the technology.

Should we ban phones for the potential of abuse, or educate young people (and maybe ourselves, too) on the potential for expanding learning opportunities? Have your say.


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Morning Ewan, I am a supporter of 'mobiles for learning,' and have enjoyed using the the students passions for their phones to engage them. Photo treasure hunts, understanding databases. recording conversations with grand parents, setting reminders, text treasure hunts, but I am also aware of the pitfalls. I am also a part of a wider teaching body of a school, the NASUWT interview on Teachers TV outlined the significant pressure / stress some teachers experience as mobile technology is exploited. This is indeed a delicate balance.

Thanks for paving the way for making this technology become common place and would you believe permissible in educational contexts. I have responded to your article on BBC so I won't repeat the same stuff. However, I would like to add the way that I am currently using my phone in the ultimate learning experience - our first trip overseas (from NZ).

Heading to Europe soon, we have just recorded key phrases in German to the memory of our mobile phones, we have access to maps via-Google maps which locates us within 1700 meters of our current location, we can access information about transport (the ultimate in “just in time” rather than “just in case”), all of our itineraries, our calendar, our travel blog and upload movies and photos straight to our on-line accounts. How much more connected to our friends, family, colleagues and followers in our networks can we get? How is this technology not ENHANCING our relationships with others… 5 years ago the for the 6 weeks we were away I expect our close families might have got one post card each!

Yes there are serious issues that must be addressed particularly concerning social responsibility. However, banning the technology is obviously not the answer either as these issues are currently prevalent despite the majority of education institutions blanket banning. Mobile technology is new to all of us. As society grows with the technology I am sure appropriate etiquette will become more apparent - and this applies to everyone, not just students.

I've closed comments on this post (should have done it before) so that the conversation can flow over on the BBC site:


The comments to this entry are closed.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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