Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Cell Phone is the Classroom


In my work and my presentations, I've been advocating for the integration of cell phones into the classroom. Part of my logic is these kids have the devices, and they're already using them in class (usually for text messaging). Why don't we give them something constructive to do with the phones. Here's a great story detailing the increasing use of cell phones in the classroom. I particularly like the nursing example. This goes even further than I have envisioned, using the cell phone to actually deliver educational content

Cell phones used to deliver course content
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says schools and colleges should deliver course content to the cell phones that students use to talk and text every day. Some campus officials are listening, and classes via web-enabled cell phones could be mobile learning's next evolution. 

'Kids are on their cell phones the 14 hours a day they are not in school,' Duncan said in a recent interview with eCampus News at Education Department (ED) headquarters in Washington, D.C. With teenagers and young adults using cell phones constantly, Duncan said, technology officials should find ways to send homework, video lectures, and other classroom material so students can study wherever they are.

The first reported use of cell phone-enabled college courses originated at Japan's Cyber University, which used SmartBank 3G smart phones to deliver electronic course material in November 2007. (See "Next ed-tech frontier: Classes via cell phone.") The 2,000-student university that offers 100 online classes lured students by offering the first course via cell phone free of charge if the student switched providers and bought the SmartBank smart phone.

Some American campuses have joined the classes-via-cell-phone trend, including Louisiana Community & Technical College System and Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

Ball State nursing students began using mobile devices last school year, and downloading course material has literally taken a considerable weight off of students' shoulders. Brandon Campbell, the nursing school's lead technology services specialist, said electronic nursing manuals accessed on a mobile device replaced a two-foot stack of reading material that students once lugged around from class to class.


Ball State's 800 undergraduate and graduate nursing students are required to buy an AT&T mobile device so they can access lab books, medical dictionaries, diagnosis literature, and other resources throughout the school year. Students can download free updates of course material, but they have to pay for new text editions after that, Hodson-Carlton said. Students pay about $250 for the cell phone-enabled texts, officials said, adding that those course materials can last a student throughout his or her undergraduate studies at the university.

The convenience of nursing manuals via mobile devices has become so appealing at Ball State that professional clinicians at the university often ask nursing students to use their cell phones, Hodson-Carlton said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe. There are using the cell phones before the class begins and during the first part of the class even with activities built in. So it is also an addiction that may not be overcome just by being cool.
Also note, you are favoring students with higher income that can afford smart phones and text plans. Even I as a college prof. can't afford a text plan.


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