One of the projects that I am involved in here at Kirkwood is the iPad initiative, which started a week before my first day here.  Although I am for giving teachers opportunities to use mobile devices to enhance the teaching and learning processes that go on in and beyond the classroom, I do not want teachers to get hooked on one mobile learning platform over another.

I believe that teachers should be familiar with the mobile devices that their students bring into the classroom from laptops to tablets to smartphones.  The iPad sets up eduction technology neophytes to become familiar with the tablets and Apple.  The benefit of this is that it’s not too difficult for them to transfer their new m-learning (mobile learning) skills from iPad to iPhone.  It appears that the market is pulling us more to smartphone usage anyway.  However, the danger is that some teachers may become too comfortable with iPads and iPhones that they may develop a bias against other platforms, most notable Google’s Android.

Let me bring out my biases right now.  When it comes to laptops, I prefer the Macbook Pro over all others.  When it comes to cloud-based technology, I prefer Google over Apple’s iCloud.  As for desktop computing, I don’t really care because I’ll use Google on a PC which, for me, is beginning to operate better than Apple on the iMac.  That said, I hate to become too dependent on any one platform because sooner or later one of them will change for the worse for any number of reasons.

During the past few weeks, I’ve noted a few alarming questions and concerns from the faculty who have volunteered to participate in this iPad initiative.  Most of these are hearsay as this group reports on what some of their colleagues are saying about using iPads in the classroom.  Here are two extremes:

  1. The teacher doesn’t want to encourage usage of mobile devices in the classroom because then the students will be texting away and not paying attention in class.
  2. The teacher believes that ownership of an iPad should be a prerequisite for the course or program.

The first one is an excuse for a number of reasons: 1) the teacher is using this to hide his or her fear of new technology; 2) the teacher is the traditional “talking head” lecturer; 3) the teacher already has enough classroom management problems as it is.  One partial solution to this is flipping the classroom, which I will write about in my next post.

The second will put a financial burden on someone directly or indirectly.  More importantly, however, is that it may be an additional burden to someone who already has another mobile device.  I believe iPhone users do not need to get an iPad, but that’s probably it.  Android users will complain and they should.  And technophobes will protest because they have no idea what they are getting into.  This is why I believe in BYOD.  And here is a little infographic about that below:

However, how can teachers implement BYOD if they aren’t even familiar with some or all of the mobile devices that can be used to enhance the teaching and learning processes?  The quick and easy solution is to develop a PLN, a personal learning network, which I will blog about later.  This demands a bit of time to set up if you are not tech savvy and/or are not online much to begin with.

For now, I will provide some links to some useful sites that introduce mobile learning to the education technology neophyte.  Another quick step is to look at my blogroll on the right, which often will have a posting about mobile learning or m-learning as it is often referred to now.

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