5 Ways to Expand Smartphone Learning

As I have been using smartphones in my classes, presenting about it, writing about it, and reading about it, I have some concerns.

1. Why limit mobile learning to lower-level drill and kill activities? Spanish teachers can have their students study vocabulary on a topic such as a restaurant via an app. However, they can also use a QR code to show the students a restaurant in Lima Peru and have their students talk about the restaurant.

2. Why limit mobile learning to text-based learning? A common mobile learning activity is to have students use a QR code to go to a web page and read the information. Why not take them to a video or a photo that shows the same learning? Math students can watch a Kahn video instead of reading about the math.

3. Why limit Smartphones to individual activities? Instead of Johnny sitting by himself learning about a country, why not have Johnny and Rosa contrast different pictures of the same country? Johnny has one picture and Rosa a different one.

4. Why limit mobile learning to one small view?
English students can search the Internet on their mobile learning device and find a poem about love but these same students can create QR posters in which they show how the human condition of love shows up in a poem, a song, a movie, and a TV show. They can compare/contrast the various types of love.

5. Why limit Smartphones/tablets to just learning when students can use it to analyze their learning? As students do various speaking tasks, they record their scores in a Google document spreadsheet. They can see how well they are progressing at any time. Likewise, they could use an online rubric checklist (Google Doc) to help them assess how well they have written their essay.

How do your students use Smartphone, Tablets or Mobile Learning? Are they limited?

Harry Grover Tuttle teaches English and Spanish college courses at Onondaga Community College and blogs at Education with Technology. He is also the author of several books on formative assessment.