Tuesday, 1 November 2011

An email conversation about mobile technology

From: Paul
Sent: 01 November 2011 09:51
To: Haigh, Mr P
Subject: mobile technology
Dear Paul
My colleague, Chris, contacted you a while back regarding your work with mobile phone technology at your school. I have been asked to follow this work up and was wondering if you could tell me of what impact the use of mobile phones have had during lessons at your school?

I appreciate that you are a very busy person and I have read your blogs, thoughts and ideas online, but I would really like to know the impact that it has had and if it has had any measurable impact on exam results or Higher Order Thinking opportunities.
Many thanks

From: Haigh, Mr P
Sent: 01 November 2011 21:29
To: Paul
Subject: RE: mobile technology
Hi Paul
Yes, what a shame we are so far apart- good news is my parents-in-law are about to move to your neck of the woods so calling in to see you one day when I'm visiting them isn't impossible.
I've just been chatting to people on twitter about this tonight- here are a couple of blog posts people are chatting about


I was asked for my advice and it was this. Firstly don't expect a BYOD (bring your own device) policy to replace your ICT- kids will have all sorts of difference devices, some none, but by opening the door to 'run what they brung' you allow, in a very natural way like 'real life' ICT in to add an extra dimension to what is happening in the classrooms already.

So think evolution not revolution, you get the acceptable use policy right so you feel confident to 'un-ban' mobiles then you incentivise innovation with the keen staff and give those not keen the power to say to their class I don't want to see them in my lesson. The message gets out that they aren't a problem and they are quite helpful and they get used more.

Can I claim impact on exam results? We'll we've gone up another 10% this year (5A*-C inc E&M 82%) but I can't claim it's down to mobiles- most kids in most lessons are not using them most of the time, there's no need, but sometimes they are too great a resource to ignore:

1. photograph a flip chat/ whiteboard/ card sort the kids/ results in an experiment teacher have made but can't take away in any form or in these hard pressed times the page of the text book they have to share but can't take home to use for homework
2. Produce e-portfolio content in D&T including sound/ video and photos of projects being completed and products being tested
3. produce work in new media- e.g. rather than write an answer make a video in a group or record voice and email the file to the teacher to hand in, then the teacher plays these to the class to share the learning
4. allow students to use Google/ wikipedia as an on the desk reference tool just like they'd use a dictionary or periodic table (or even as a dictionary- far faster to look up and spell check words)
5. allow students to check timetables/ emails/ notices
6. allow students access paperless resources on the VLE and resources on the VLE that could never be on paper- e.g. video teacher tutorials 'how to clips'
7. allow students to improve personal organisation- putting deadlines into phone as calendar reminders, school journals don't shout that there is work to do from inside the kids pockets on a Saturday! (look at the InClass app on itunes) This could be the biggest single thing in terms of impact for kids who struggle with personal organisation and forget books/ equipment/ PE kit/ food tech/ homework.
If you haven't already do a survey like this, I'm not excited about mobile phones- too limited, too many distractions and too varied in what kids have, but look at this- 50% of our kids have iPod touch so in the average class I've got 1 between 2 http://twitpic.com/3w44qg and not got any worries about kids texting/ phones ringing/ kids browsing unfiltered 3G web (not that this ever had been a problem, people will predict it will be)

And then table the graph at SMT and say what is our position on this?? Pretty quickly people realise we can't ignore what's in their bags.

I hope that's helpful. Have you got a copy of http://www.optimus-education.com/new-technologies-handbook-schools-maximising-impact-ict-transform-learning-511 it's all in there and, as they say, much much more!