As the weekend winds down and I get some time to reflect on the Mobile Learning Experience, a couple of things come to mind right away.
Point One: The energy from the conference was intense. The conference was big enough to meet a new person at every breakout session, yet intimate enough to make real connections with people. Even the schedule worked into this with the meals. I was able to sit with my colleagues, yet have new people to meet at every meal. The keynotes were also an integral part of the energy. Each message was connected to the conference, but unique to each keynote. I walked away with different ideas because of each speaker.
Point Two: The power of mobile devices. The first aspect is from Graham Brown-Martin’s keynote, which is we are still not tapping into the power of mobile technology. We are using a technology designed to be mobile in an immobile environment. Now, what educators and schools are doing with them is awesome! I’m pushing the idea farther, as I was thinking during Graham’s keynote and tweeted the idea that teachers use Mondays as a “Keynote” day, then, let the students go the rest of the week.
I understand that wouldn’t work all the time, but it brings up the second aspect of the mobile devices and technology: options. There is a time for lectures (think about how powerful the keynotes and breakout sessions were), a time for worksheets, a time for tests even. A buzzword right now is differentiation. Simply put, options. Mobile devices equip both students and teachers with that. As an example, I will use simple story structure as a lesson. In class we might read, listen, or even watch a YouTube video of the story. I would have some vocab, which I could have a stack of flashcards for them to study, or even have them design their own. Then, allow the students to show they understand story structure by writing a story, filming a story, or creating a cartoon. All of which can be done on a mobile device.
Which moves me to the third point: the Teacher – Student relationship. I started an interesting discussion about app development for teachers between breakout sessions, but I didn’t get the opportunity to finish. Understand this discussion had the chance to be one of those incredibly deep pedagogy challenging discussions, but I never had the chance to bring it up again. At the beginning, my inquiry was on the idea of equipping teachers to be able to build apps that would help students in their study of a lesson. The opposite side was that the students should build them. I don’t disagree with that, but one aspect I see of technology is the empowering of teachers to be what they went into this profession for, to teach. Teachers can be the experts again of their field. If fostered correctly, teachers should be the experts of the curriculum, not the textbook or a website. The “options” available to connect to the content pushes teachers to raise their game. And that, as a professional, is exciting. Our jobs are changing. Our challenge is to actually design a learning experience that gives students the tools and motivation to live by the highest expression of their talents.
Mobile 2012 was an incredible opportunity for me as a teacher. I cannot wait to hopefully be a part of Mobile 2013.