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May 2, 2011 / Rabbi Meir Wexler

Should students use mobile devices in the classroom?

For years researchers, futurists and technology gurus have asked how can schools can integrate technology in the classroom? With each passing month students are buying or being gifted iPads, iPhones, smartphones and other mobile technologies.  With the ever-increasing popularity and affordability of these devices it is no surprise to hear updated questions such as “can mobile devices enhance learning in the classroom.” I came across this link on my personal learning network and wanted to share it with you.  What are your thoughts on students using their phones in class for learning? What are the pros and cons? Is this question subjective or objective (does it depend on the student or teacher or could they be effectively integrated in every class all the time)? Will this entire discussion be rendered obsolete with in a few years (or months) as technology progresses to a point where everyone in our society is constantly wired in?

Looking at the big picture, I am a big proponent of technology in the classroom. I think incorporating cell phones into a unit, theme, or lesson plan can change how students perceive learning in the classroom. However I also believe that for any technology to be effective in the classroom there must be an effective educator, one who is ‘green and growing’ and not ‘ripe and rotten.’ When an educator strives to be a transformative learner then he or she will have a higher success rate incorporating technology in education to ultimately create an environment of authentic student learning.

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