Frustration with mobile devices and technological distractions is common among teachers. One of the particular culprits is the iPhone. This Apple product represents everything that many traditional educators deem dangerous to an orderly and effective classroom. It permits voice and text communication while it also has a million apps and an Internet connection to provide every possible distraction to a student who would otherwise be paying attention in class. In fact, the iPhone is so versatile and engaging that many people carry it with them in a variety of situations in place of all other hi-tech equipment, excepting only an actual computer.
This absorption with the iPhone and other mobile devices should be a cue for educators. Past classroom distractions may have merited removal or prohibition because they were truly useless within the confines of a classroom. The latest distractions produced by the tech industry actually present awesome opportunities to advance and accelerate learning. The following are examples of methods used to incorporate the iPhone or other technology into classroom learning and the administration of a school.
Information is ubiquitous in the Internet age. In the not-so-distant past, teachers were the primary conduit for information in the classroom. Students could only know what teachers imparted to them. Now students, like most people, exist awash in a sea of information, facts and opinions.
The iPhone and a lot of other personal technology offer teachers a chance to skip the information stage that has characterized much of their history. Instead, they can proceed to spend more time with students in evaluation of sources. This is a critical part of learning but one often neglected in order just to fill students with data. Students can now try to verify data with multiple sources in just minutes. No trip to the library is needed to acquire confirmation of new ideas and reports.
The Go-Anywhere Education
Mobile devices such as the iPhone are also making it easier to disengage learning from the classroom environment and take it out into the real world. Teachers often view field trips with some trepidation. They are opportunities to do hands-on learning but they are often over-stimulating to children who are so used to being confined to a classroom. They are also complicated ventures because taking textbooks, manuals and other accessories along is usually difficult.
When schools arm their students with iPhones, each learner is ready to take the classroom outdoors or to another environment while carrying everything he or she needs in a portable device. Access to textbooks and web searches, rather than their deprivation, can characterize mobile classrooms.
Combines Many Tools in One
The iPhone and its competitors can contribute to classroom learning in countless little ways. English teachers can expect an understanding of challenging vocabulary because learning definitions is no longer a lengthy process of consulting a dictionary and interrupting the class. Instead, students can consult their phones for answers almost instantly. Math instructors have less need to require calculators or maintain spares in the room when every child carries an iPhone.
The iPhone can even help with administrative details that have significant financial impacts, such as attendance. Schools in most areas stand to lose money if their attendance is low and they place increasingly high expectations on teachers to provide detailed information about attendance for every class. Errors are common and cause fractious interactions between parents, teachers and students. Some schools are giving their students iPhones in addition to laptops. When they are marked absent, students receive a text or an automated phone call and have an opportunity to explain their absence right away or demonstrate that as error has been made and they are, in fact, in class.