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Mobile Technology in Classrooms

mobiles and kidsDesktop and laptop computers have long been a staple in middle and high schools but that is rapidly changing. Schools across the USA are spending billions on various kinds of technology for the classroom and aren’t investing only in computer stations and keyboards. 

Did you know that The Pew Internet report, How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms (PDF) reveals 73% of teachers and/or their students use mobiles in the classroom or to complete assignments?

Kristen Purcell of the the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project co-authored a new study on technology in the classroom and it reveals tablets, e-readers and smartphones are being used by more than four in 10 of the teachers surveyed.

Teachers say the following about the overall impact on their teaching and their classroom work:

92% of these teachers say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching;
69% say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to share ideas with other teachers;
67% say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to interact with parents and 57% say it has had such an impact on enabling their interaction with students.

The internet has opened up a vast world of information for today’s students, yet students’ digital literacy skills have yet to catch up.  In November 2012 How Teens Do Research in the Digital World (PDF) revealed:

Some 77% of advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed say that the internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research work.

But 87% say these technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans” and 64% say today’s digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically”.

Large majorities also agree with the notion that the amount of information available online today is overwhelming to most students (83%) and that today’s digital technologies discourage students from using a wide range of sources when conducting research (71%).

Mobile technology is revolutionizing the world of education, the working world, and the blogosphere. Today about one in ten internet users contribute to a blog and one in three internet users read blogs. The mobile web is forecast to overtake the desktop web in 2014, when more people will access the internet for the first time using a mobile, rather than using a desktop or a laptop.

Special mention: Announcing  the launch of Classrooms Create an A+ Site with Classrooms

Related posts:
Mobile Growth and Blogging
Mobile Friendly Theme or Responsive Width Theme?
Which Smartphone will Dominate in 2013?
Smartphones, Tablets and LapTops for College
Is Your Blog Mobile Compatible?
Migration to Mobile Blogging

23 thoughts on “Mobile Technology in Classrooms

  1. That is pathetic that children must have their iPhones in class. I really admire teachers these days: how do they secure the children’s attention these days over a long period of time in class? So many distractions.

    They probably figure out to do with the reality of plagiarism.

    One of my most popular posts is on the different memorial art pieces to the Chinese Canadian railway workers. It must be children doing research..

  2. If only….In my classroom I have two desktop computers that came off the ark for my children to access. I have my own teacher laptop which I don’t own and I have to give it back if I leave the school. My student with a disability has access to an ipad which only works when the wireless internet is working. Technology is far from perfect here!

  3. I’m a huge fan of technology in the classrooms. Flower Child now has an iPad supplied by the school through the Adaptive Technology program. For her, and many kids like her with varied disabilities/health issues, iPads and laptops have given them a chance to redefine what “their best” can be.

      • The budgeting for things like this come from federal dollars, separate from the individual school’s budget. These types of things benefit everyone, and it’s hers to use, but if Flower Child were to leave the school system, it would stay behind for the next child who has a need for it,written into their IEP (individualized education plan) :)

  4. My kids school doesn’t allow them to have their phones out of their lockers during class. They can bring them, but they can’t use them.

    • That’s the same policy were I live. The paranoid parents who claim their children need cell phones for safety reasons had to back-off when challenged. Their kids are under adult supervision at all times. The cellphones stay in their lockers while classes are in session so their attention on what the teacher is teaching.

  5. I’ve got a ringside seat on all this with my son being a developer for a metro school system and my grandchildren being in grade school. But even as all this technology makes its way into our schools, I worry about children caught on the wrong side of the digital divide. My son thinks I worry needlessly since cellphones have become so ubiquitous, but I don’t see anyone being able to research their homework projects or write their reports on a cellphone.

    • re: “I worry about children caught on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

      No kidding. The number of children being raised in poverty is growing, not diminishing.

      I also can’t imagine doing any research or writing on a tiny cellphone screen.

  6. Hi TT, just yesterday I stopped my class to ask my students if they needed for me to send their parents a short letter where I’d explain that their son/daughter needed their laptop/ipad to work in my advanced writing class…it seems that for reasons that have little to do with their use of the computer (or so the students say) the parents have grounded them and as an added punishment taken away their computers… I think that some parents are feeling a bit overwhelmed and skeptical of how those devices are being used in the classroom and the time in between classes… Today two of my students sneaked their laptops out of their homes, it did help them catch up with the rest of the class though I worry that it might be a set back in the parent-child relationship… I’ll make a space to read the report (though I’m in Mexico and it might not reflect the situation exactly…) read you soon, Alexandra

    • I grew up in a large family. My parents struggled to keep us fed and clothed. School supplies were costly and my parents and us kids all worked to acquire them. In other words, I was raised in poverty. And the longer a child lives in poverty, the tougher it can be for them to climb out later in life.

      Now more than one in seven Canadian children live in poverty. More than one in five children in the USA are living in poverty. Only three other countries in the developed world have a higher child poverty rate than the U.S. Mexico leads all nations with a rate of 25.79, followed by Chile (23.95), Turkey (23.46), and the U.S. (21.63).

      To know that a teacher might send a note to parents that indicates they must purchase their child a laptop or iPad to participate in an advanced writing class is upsetting to me. Are you saying it’s not possible to participate in the class without a laptop or tablet? Are we all in a state of denial about pervasive poverty that’s growing worse day by day or what?

      • if I may, I think I did not specify, I work in a private higschool, and like all other private highschools, the students there have iPads and iPods with them making it all the more unacceptable that their parents out of fear or misinsformation would take away the tool they bought them when the graduated from jr. high…

        In Mexico, as is all countries around the world, we have 3 different socioeconomic levels, we are not all in poverty… Of course, if I worked in public education, my class wouldn’t even be considered in the curriculum much less bringing laptops to school…

        Your comment has affected me deeply and I will take it as an opportunity to invite you to look beyond what the media offers which has achieved sending out a very narrow and limited concept of what my country is and how it works, what the people here ar capable of achieving…just visit our capital and there you’ll see, yes, incongruencies with what the statistics say, but nevertheless true signs of a country that has everything the developed world has and more…

        WE, I am not in denial about pervasive poverty, but my work is with another sector of the population not because I avoid the less fortunate, but because I want to raise awareness of what those that have all they need are able and obliged to achieve in favor of those that don’t…

        yes, it is possible to participate in my class without a laptop but why would they, if they’ve got one sitting at home and all it takes is for them to behave and they’ll get it back… this has been quite an eye opener… and also very upsetting to me, but thanks any way

        • To be clear my comment was in no way an attack on your country.

          The very fact that your knee jerk response as an educator was to leap to that conclusion and become defensive astonishes me.

          I am a Canadian and I put our shameful Canadian child poverty stats up first in my comment.

          I have traveled to your country and note the economic disparity mirrors what I see in my own country and in the USA.

          I am sick to my stomach when I think how many children in my own country and in the USA and in Mexico are dwelling in poverty.

          I am despondent that so many children in every so-called developed nations in the world are dwelling in poverty, as it illustrates how mucked up our governance and economic models are.

          Considering the plight of children living in so-called third world countries depresses even further because it’s the resources and cheap labor of those nations that the developed nations are benefiting from.

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