Saturday, January 7, 2012

Life is an Open Phone Test


I was struck, in a positive way, today by reading Will Richardson's response in a NYT article about how teachers are using technology and social media in the classroom.  Will's narrative reads:
Will Richardson:Let’s face it: For my children and for millions like them, life will be an open phone test. They are among the first generation who will carry access to the sum of human knowledge and literally billions of potential teachers in their pockets. They will use that access on a daily basis to connect, create and, most important, to learn in ways that most of us can scarcely imagine. Given that reality, shouldn’t we be teaching our students how to use mobile devices well?
Life as an open phone test--certainly the way that I live my life.  If I need to solve any problem (from the store hours of Best Buy, to making reservations at a restaurant, to finding the correct spelling of a word, to finding any historical fact), I can generally find the answer within a few minutes by utilizing my smartphone.  And, as Will points out, this reality will only grow, and the kids in our classrooms are already innately native to this information gathering technique.

So, how do we, as schools, move towards this model of responsible phone use?  Are there any schools out there who have models of responsible smartphone use where students are encouraged to use their phones for learning experiences as opposed to the more "neanderthal" uses (texting, gaming, etc.) that so many schools fear?  How will this look in the future in 21st century schools?

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