As I study towards becoming a teacher, I often think about my experience in the classroom as a child. We had one computer in our classroom when I was in grade 6, none of my classmates had a mobile phone (let alone a smart phone) and I am sure that at this point, not every one had a computer in their home. ELearning was not even thought about, let alone a possibility in the classroom…until not so long ago.
In the classrooms of today, there is a vast array of mobile technology – we are immersed in it. Pontydysgu (2007) refers to Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and the many benefits of their introduction, made possible through the ubiquitous technology constantly being created and upgraded. I think a PLE allows for students to be taking control of their learning, with a genuine interest and level of motivation. Furthermore, ELearning gives teachers the ability to let students with learning difficulties (or those who are well ahead of others) work at their own pace.
Looking at mobile technology, it is something that really appeals to the Z generation. It is a tool that they are familiar with and usually have had much experience with outside of the classroom. These tools allow for engaging activities, with experiences in different learning contexts that may not have otherwise been available (e.g. a virtual tour of a Zoo or Museum). The advances in the Internet mean that accurate, up to date information is available at the click of a button.
Teachers must be vigilant – mobile phones, tablets, laptops are all fantastic tools for learning, but what about the ease they provide for students to stray from tasks. I think procrastination/misuse is in a sense aided by this technology. There is also the issue of lack of government funding, leading to the deficiency of mobile technology to use in the classroom. How can students learn using mobile technology if there isn’t enough to go around? I stumbled across the following video, which I think has a great solution.
Pontydysgu, G.A. (2007). Personal learning environments – the future of eLearning? eLearning papers, 2 (1). Retrieved form: http://www.elearningeuropa.info/files/media/media11561.pdf