Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Take out your cellphones, please.

Last night, while in bed, I used mobile technology to get a quick answer.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was running a repeat of their July 7 show. A band called My Morning Jacket was the last guest. When they started to play Circuital, which I had never heard before, I was captivated by the intriguing way in which the song began. I often get hung up on certain pieces of melody, and I just had to know who these guys were.

Luckily, my Nook Color was at arm's reach. OK, the Nook is supposed to be a reader, and that is how I use it for the most part. However, I wanted to find the name of the song, and I wanted to hear it again, to affirm that I had indeed come across a sound that pleased me. I switched on the browser to my Nook, did a quick Google search, and there they were. A band and a song I had never heard before, and that I would certainly look in to further.

This morning, after reading the article Mobile Tech in Classrooms Boosts English Learners, it occurred to me, the same on-the-spot-let's-find-out could take place in my classroom. If my students were each handed mobile devices at the beginning of the school year - like Nooks, iPads, tablets or netbooks - their worlds would be made larger, and language learning would be enhanced.

Or, what if my students were permitted to use their cellphones in class? This past year, of my 19 fourth-graders, nine of them had their own cellphones. What if I devised activities where my students would be allowed to use their cellphones to access information, submit answers, collaborate and be even more engaged? Until mobile devices are provided to ALL learners, why not let us use what is already in our students' hands?

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