By Mark Geary
Bill Gates has been quoted as saying (before iPhone) “The computer of the future will be the cellphone.” The implications for educators is profound, and should have us re-thinking our attitudes and acceptance of cell phones in the school. I am not blind to the fact that there are sometimes problems associated with the cellphone in the schools, but we should address those by addressing the behavior, not the object. We don’t take away a pencil the student is tapping, we address the tapping behavior.
As an administrator for highly at-risk students in a Cincinnati charter high school, I found it much easier to have students use Google SMS to look up words and definitions when they were struggling with reading than using a book. Very few of these students would be caught carrying books home, but they would use their cell phone to help complete assignments.
As we look at HOW cellphones may be implemented today, we also look at Adobe and their role. Captivate lets us easily create micro-content with quizzes, saved in Flash. Flash itself let’s students see, create and engage with interactive simulations and games that can have a profound effect on learning. Many Web 2.0 sites are built in Flash, and extend the capabilities of the cellphone beyond what we would have thought possible a few years ago.
The typical smartphone has camera, video, keyboard and voice inputs. It has, through Web 2.0 apps, text (Jott), voice (gabcast) and picture (Flickr) outputs. Starts sounding a lot like a computer doesn’t it? Where will that lead us?
To read more, see an article I wrote for the Florida Education Leadership magazine.