Horizon Report Tech Trend

2011 Horizon Report: Mobile Devices

I learned a lot in this week’s activities in EDTECH 501, thanks to the 2011 Horizon Report. It is amazing to see how much change is happening in the technology world in such a short amount of time. The horizon report lists six technology trends that are being implemented and developed for use in schools. These are: mobile devices, learning analytics, game-based learning, gesture-based computing, electronic books, and augmented reality. After a lot of time thinking about where I wanted to place my emphasis this week, I decided to go with the topic of mobile devices.

I utilize mobile devices in my kindergarten classroom. The students listen to books on MP3 players and use game-based learning on our iPads. Now, I wanted to take this learning a step further. I decided to create a lesson plan using iPads for repeated readings. Students in kindergarten are practicing their fluency skills with quick words and CVC words. The use of a mobile device, in this case the iPad, is an excellent way for students to both practice reading and listen to the rhythm of their reading. These are both methods of increasing reading fluency.

Why is this technology significant?

Mobile devices have changed the way we communicate, work, and play. When you go to schools, stores, libraries, restaurants, and most everywhere you see people utilizing mobile devices. According the 2011 Horizon Report, “by 2015, 80% of people accessing the Internet will be doing so from mobile devices”. This technology is significant because it has transformed how people live.

What is its relevance to teaching and learning?

The Horizon Report states “internet capable mobile devices will outnumber computers within the next year”. The mere thought of this is amazing, but it makes a lot of sense. Gone are the days of switching rooms to visit the computer lab to work on a project. This approach did not promote technology integration and also created challenges in time and lab schedules. Imagine having a teachable moment that was lost because the computer lab was unavailable. Mobile devices have given students the opportunity to access indispensable information whenever that perfect moment arises.

Fortunately, the cost of these devices has come down. However, the initial costs for school districts can be overwhelming in an already strapped system. The issue of replacing or updating these devices is also a concern. When you consider how much we spend on textbooks and curriculum materials that may not be needed, it helps to ease the burden of technology costs.

I have found that my Smartboard has increased student attention, enthusiasm, and learning. My kids love the use of technology in the classroom and are able to take control of their learning. Mobile devices allow students to take their learning in their own hands. They also allow for students to become life-long learners. If a student knows how to research and gain information as an elementary student, imagine what they could do with a device as an adult. Mobile devices are creating life-long learners in that they provide instant information to students who are eager to find it.

What I Have Learned

Students in the kindergarten classroom are learning basic skills; letters, sounds, words, numbers, etc. This does not mean that students at this age cannot utilize technology to learn. It is amazing how quickly young students pick up new skills with mobile devices. I watched as students who are only 60 months old watched a set of directions about the iPad and were able to run with it! They needed minimal assistance and had very little frustration. Can we say the same about a group of adults faced with this new technology?

I found that the students had an enthusiasm for reading that I had not always seen. They wanted to complete this activity, and they want to repeat the activity again. I will need to adjust and add more to this fluency project that will keep students interested and learning. However, this was a great way to promote fluency and give students the keys to self-evaluation. I am thankful for mobile devices and what they have meant for basic skill development in the kindergarten classroom.

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