Friday, February 05, 2010

Embracing Cellphones as Learning Tools

I've been advocating for the last few years that faculty, rather than worrying about students using their cellphones to text in class, should embrace the technology and look for innovative ways to use cellphones in the classroom. Here's a great example from Kent State University
Thomas McNeal wants students to become "geohistorians."

In the latest effort to turn cellphones into learning tools, his Geo-Historian project at Kent State University plans to put students to work creating multimedia content about historic sites.

The technology behind this idea is a program that ties the information to a bar code. Then you could leave that bar code on, say, the memorial commemorating the 1970 Kent State shootings. Visitors could get access to the student-produced audio and video clips by scanning the bar code with their cellphone cameras.
I love McNeal's take on cellphones -
"All of the students have it now," ... "Instead of being afraid of it, we’re going to show teachers and parents that they can embrace this."
A great example of how McNeal has implemented this technology includes
creating a booklet filled with bar codes tied to the World War II Memorial in Washington, a project he described this week at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference. When visitors see a plaque about the home front, for example, they can scan the bar code on Mr. McNeal's pamphlet and watch a clip from the 1940s of movie stars selling war bonds.
Here's a video of the project and QR codes in action:

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