“lorrain croy” lorrain croy
One of the most amazing statistics in education that I have recently read is from a Piper Jaffray survey indicating that one third of American high school students own an iPhone, and that 40% plan on purchasing one in the next six months (via MacRumors article 4-3-12). This survey does not even account for other types of smartphones and tablet devices.
I found the number to be so amazing that I had to do some informal surveying of my own with friends who teach in various locations across the nation. Not only did they support the findings of the survey, but they also shared interesting stories that shed light on usage within the classroom, and even debunked preconceived notions of the economic background of an iPhone owning student. (A friend told me that even some of his students on free or reduced lunches own iPhones. I think most people assume that iPhones are owned only by affluent homes.)
How can teachers and schools capitalize on the proliferation of iPhones and iOS devices to better the learning experience?
Allow the Devices: No-brainer. Allow smartphones into your high school.
Get Teachers the Devices: Do everything you can to get your teachers an iPhone, if that’s not possible than get them an iPod Touch or iPad. Teachers need to let the students know what apps they recommend and teach them how to use them. Teachers can also reverse engineer the learning experience by teaching how the apps work and the foundations by which the app was designed.
Teachers Developing Apps: This has potential. I read a recent article that Apple is patenting methods for people to develop apps like they can for books with iBooks Author. It doesn’t exist yet, but this is exactly what teachers need to engage students.
Open WiFi: This is a no-brainer. Open up your WiFi for students to use on their devices. They don’t need extra data charges and they will use it for learning.
Get Social: Schools should be on Twitter, Facebook. Flickr, Pinterest, and any all social networking sites they can, engaging students with the positives of a great school life. Tweet homework assignments, sports scores, and links to school pages. Create QR Code scavenger hunts. Teach Digital Citizenship. Go where the students are, and they’re online on mobile devices. Have the students subscribe to school calendars, email lists, mass text alerts, and any other creative ideas you can dream up.
Incorporate into Classrooms and Lessons: Too many teachers worry about how students will misuse the device rather than how they will excel with them. Don’t ask questions you can answer with Google. At the very least teachers can make videos, podcasts, blog, recommend apps, engage students with project deadlines and resources.
Create ePubs Texts: Teachers should be creating texts for students (and fellow teachers) using iBooks Author. This is an exciting time for education. Schools can encourage this by allowing the ePubs to count for Professional Development or even offering supplementals if possible.
What an exciting time in education! What a great opportunity to engage with students in learning in ways never before available in the history of our profession. Look for the possibilities!
I am so anxious to read in the comments how you are engaging students with iPhones.