Friday, January 20, 2012

Fellow TLCers-

Tonight I have finally had time to complete my homework assignment for the online class I am taking about mobile devices. It is thought provoking to read the articles, to share ideas and to collaborate about best practices, our fears and our failures in learning to navigate and implement mobile devices in the classroom. It is most certainly paralleling the conversation we have all been having together this year. I would like to share my initial comments (that I shared with them) and get your feedback about two compelling articles I read.

First, my post:

As a World Language Teacher, I have embraced the use of technology as a tool for practice and review since the late 80's . I have been most interested in learning about tools I can use to enhance students' oral and aural skills. Computers and laptop carts allow students to explore beyond the confines of the classroom and to hear authentic voices in the target language (not to mention the visual aids). What is fascinating about mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone is the portability and possibility of increased collaboration. This year, I have just 6 iPads in my classroom, but they are being used daily to access some of our most popular and beloved FL sites like,, Voicethread, and our class Wikis and Google Sites. We have also used them for photography and video recording of student dramatizations. They are light and can be passed and shared more easily than the laptops. At this writing, I am skeptical about the composition capabilities, although I have recently discovered Cloudon and I am going to give it a try (I like the added bonus of it's link to Dropbox).

I have been careful to try and use only applications, websites and other realia that will fully engage students and enhance the learning environment. I have also found that using technology has enabled me to address different learning styles, but I have also learned that some students learn best with "older" tools like notecards. I have tried hard to add slowly, but I, too, sometimes feel like there is so much to learn and so little time. I suppose that like many others, I believe that pen, paper, book and conversation slow down the rapid pace and allow us to stop and think. I would like to take advantage of this course to learn more about mobile devices and how they might improve or even just enhance learning.

The reading, Four R's in Mobile Learning, was compelling. Just as we would with pen and paper, students act as recorders (getting all the info down) , reinterpreters (enhance and review), recallers (remember and review) and relaters (sharing), however, quite amazingly, it all happens on one device! Wow! But what about the student who can't find anything in their binder? Will they find it on their device? Will they know how to access all the places they need to on the device? Will they do it? I have been asking my students to "blog" on our class wiki and to use it to view videos, upload work for sharing and collaboration. they do it (most of the time), but I still think the face-to-face interactive conversation we have is the most valuable. What about our brains? Can we handle all this multitasking or the "deluge of data?"

Being the organizer that I am, I am hopeful that my mobile devices will someday simplify instead of complicate my lessons and life. I also hope that I will be able to use them simply as tools and not lose my connection (or valuable time) with human beings and nature!

And now the article (the other is a link above from the NYT): The Four Rs of Mobile Learning

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