A friend used to listen to a presentation of a new technique, a new program, or a new textbook and say “What’s the real story?” His question implied that when we hear the “wonders and amazements” of a new thing, we need to become aware of what else is involved. He disliked “All you have to do is…” because he knew that much else was really involved.
Unfortunately when a new technology such as mobile learning hits, we hear the “it’s amazing” stories. The educators of the amazing stories do not tell the reality of what did not work or the difficulties along the way. I heard someone talk about how the students took pictures as part of a project. So, I built an assignment around my Modern Language Spanish students taking personal pictures of current vocabulary of daily activities. For example, students took pictures of their friends, family or children getting dressed, brushing teeth, combing their hair, etc. My students found it easy to take the pictures on their cell phone. They took the ten required pictures. However, the difficult was getting the pictures from their cell phone to a central location. Most students could only send one picture at a time. One student downloaded his pictures to his computer and then burned them onto a CD. Another question was where do the students send the pictures so that others can look at the pictures? The simple solution seemed to be for students to keep their pictures on their own cellphone and let other students look at their cell phones. We learned to trade cell phones for a few minutes while we did this activity.
Let’s share the realities, the fixes, the this-is-the-easy-way-to-do-it, and the lessons learned with others as we begin this new adventure with mobile learning.
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.
Also, my book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.