Teaching with mobile technology: seeking help!

I need your help!

Tomorrow I’m attending a conference on Education Technologies, and I will be giving a talk about using mobile technology, and social media tools, in ‘out of the classroom’ environments.  I am excited about the opportunity and I welcome the chance to discuss the topic, highlighting my field biology course as a case study.  Here’s an overview of what I will discuss:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 12.51.25 PM

As part of this talk, I would like to engage a broader community of educators, using social media tools.  More specifically, if you have comments or ideas on some of the discussion questions (below), please comment on this post, or tweet at me, or use the twitter hashtag #EdTechMobile to give your perspective. (Note: For ‘real time’ interaction, you can tweet using that hashtag between 330-415 PM (Eastern) on 5 March)

Here are the discussion questions:

1) What are the challenges and opportunities when using social media tools in the classroom?

2) How might mobile technology (e.g., smartphones, tablets) facilitate learning? How might it interfere?

3) How might the approach of linking ‘out of class’ learning environments with mobile technology and social media tools be adapted for other teaching environments? (i.e., other than University-level, the context in which I have used these tools).

Thanks, everyone!

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6 thoughts on “Teaching with mobile technology: seeking help!

  1. I’m currently (for the second time) teaching using social media and blogging in a class on Insect Natural History, which also uses non-traditional assessment. I have lots of thoughts, but I’m busy editing/grading blog post so in brief…

    1) What are the challenges and opportunities when using social media tools in the classroom?

    -Actually knowing if the learning outcomes are as good or better/worse than using standard tools. Is it really worth the effort?
    - It is a great opportunity for students to explore and bring topics and information back to the other students and participate in shaping the class discussion.
    - Students are actually not experienced in using social media in a “professional” or “learning” mode and time is spent on this and it takes from the time in class on the actual topic.

    2) How might mobile technology (e.g., smartphones, tablets) facilitate learning? How might it interfere?

    -Keeping the medium from being too much of the message, i.e. a distraction.
    -Students have a chance to do a “deep dive” into topics that they are interested in.
    -There is a need for developing methods and apps to facilitate learning of technical facts in areas that are completely new to students. For example students know very little about insects and must learn (memorize) a new vocabulary to be conversant. Social media works better (in my experience) with conceptual than factual material. This may be my limit as a teacher.

    • Thanks for the very useful comments. They are spot-on, especially the idea of ensuring the technology does not become a distraction. I also like your distinction between facts and concepts: as I reflect about the value of social media in my own teaching, I think I agree with that statement – often social media and mobile technology is more about conversation / collaboration / interactions and the facts (often taught in more traditional settings) can provide the building blocks upon which these conversations can happen.

  2. #1 What are the challenges and opportunities when using social media tools in the classroom?
    -Speaking from a High School Teacher’s perspective.
    Challenge – proper training of students in social media etiquette and use. Many students feel SM is a place to share everything that crosses your mind. With high school students we have more time to teach students the proper SM protocol. The shortened version is “Keep it positive. Keep it professional”
    Opportunities – Some forms of SM make it incredibly easy to connect with professionals in a particular field. In my ecology class we talk with scientists almost weekly via Twitter. Twitter provides instant connection with the outside world, other classrooms, other states, other countries, and the other side of the planet.

    #2 – I am skipping this question

    #3 How might the approach of linking ‘out of class’ learning environments with mobile technology and social media tools be adapted for other teaching environments? (i.e., other than University-level, the context in which I have used these tools).
    -My students and I host a monthly live twitter chat with scientists. The discussion takes place in the evening so it is out of school time. We typically discuss science topics we do not cover in class = learning from scientists about stuff that is new in science.
    -We have attempted to have students capture activities out of class that relate to topics covered in class with Vine and Instagram and share it to the class hashtag. So far this has not been a regular occurrence. Still working on it.

    • Thanks for the comments! Good point regarding training and etiquette, and your advice about ‘positive & professional’ is outstanding. I also like your ideas about expanding the tools to include things like Vine & Instagram – I’ve not used either of them, much, but would like to try!

  3. Advantages: [images+interpretation+information] from a variety of points of view.

    Disadvantages: /inter/they traded Lou?/ruptio/naked truth?/ns/ lack of focus.

  4. Pingback: Wordpress Blog Post On Teaching With Mobile Technology: Seeking Help! - Wordpress Blogs .NET

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