When I went to high school there was a debate over how much calculators should be used in the classroom. Today the debate is over whether smartphones and other mobile technology should be not only allowed in schools, but actively used in classes. In a Congressional briefing of the Speak Up 2010 report, Project Tomorrow reports that 67 percent of parents said they would pay for a mobile device for their child to do school work.
On the other end of the spectrum, 53 percent of middle school and high school students said that the inability to use cell phones, smartphones, or MP3 players was the largest obstacle when using technology in school. Students said such mobile technology would allow access to content that Internet firewalls and filters blocked, no doubt including social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
One of the biggest challenges schools have is responding to trends and technology that are part of student’s every day life, mostly because how teachers teach today is nearly the same as how they taught 30 to 50 years ago. Today most schools have computers, and the reason why they do is due to the belief that students need to learn how to use the tools they will use in the work force or at college.
Some schools do a better job than others with using computer technology, but they are all being confronted with the reality that the computing device of future is mobile and either a smartphone or tablet. Likewise, what people will do with these “future” computing devices is shifting from word processing and spreadsheets to collaborative tools and social networking, and therefore teachers need to learn how to incorporate mobile devices and collaboration into their classroom instruction.