Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Power of Mobile Phones


 Teaching and technology has always walked hand in hand, or better, one has always followed another. And education has been the runner up so far. I say this because if we were to review the history of technology and teaching we will see that education lags behind in adopting nascent technologies. A classical case of this delay in adopting a new technology is the story of how the French educational system resisted in allowing students to use the novelty for note taking and other writing tasks. As I go back home from TESOL International Convention in Seattle, based on what I observed there and around my settings, I see that the potential of mobile devices is, in some cases, largely unexplored by educators. Differently from rolling ball pens, smart phones have not been invented with the intention of serving as a class tool. These phones are the children of landline technology and computers and were concocted for communication. What is happening is that they are being repurposed. In other words, we started using them to make calls, to take pictures, then to write, and now we are seeing them as educational gadgets. The question and the mission of educators in general lies in exploring the very devices they carry and see how this can be used in class. As a teacher teacher, I believe that the first step is to learn about what I can do with my mobile device and the ones my students bring to class and pass it on to my colleagues. Maybe if they get this knowledge they can think of how to use this in class instead of coming up with policies to make students shut down their phones.