Mobile Phones For Learning - A Follow-up

As a follow-up to an earlier post I wrote, I find Sue Waters' sentiments to be reflective of the feelings of many of us. Sue commented:

I know first hand the benefits of mlearning as I have clearly seen the gains with my TAFE students but as a parent with kids of these ages my first thoughts were the opposite.
My kids are in the same boat. My eleven-year-old just got an iPod for her birthday and it won't be long before she will want a mobile phone of her own. I don't think I'll be buying one for her anytime soon, but that subject is for a different blog, at a different time.

The study to which Sue referred in her comment raises the very questions I have about mobile phone use in the classroom as well as the reasons to use them. I'll summarize:
Murdoch University researchers are spearheading an innovative project to see how new technologies can help primary school children in their learning. The School of Education has been monitoring the use of mobile phones programmed with educational games to help children in Years 3, 5, 6 and 7 improve mathematics learning.

We have several problems:
  • The big problem we have in today’s world is engaging and motivating young minds.
  • We’re interested in discovering how new technologies can support learning.
  • Traditional teaching methods are simply not keeping up with what the students of today expect and what motivates their learning.
  • Kids use phones for talking, listening to music, sending photos and playing videos but the last thing they use phones for is education.
Employing technology in the classroom could be the solution:
  • The point of this is to use tools the students are familiar with to get them interested in science, maths and English.
  • Mobile phones, considered by many teachers as disruptive in class, could in fact be used to help teach children basic numeracy and literacy skills.
The project is being coordinated by Murdoch’s Centre for Learning, Change and Development in Australia. I, too, am greatly interested in its findings.

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