You can see the prevalence of smartphones everywhere you go. Walking around a college campus it's hard to find a student not using one, and because smartphones are much more affordable than they used to be, even students as young as elementary are sporting them. But is the prevalence of this technology harmful to the classroom environment? Some seem to think the opposite, and a great deal of teachers and professors are embracing technology in the classroom instead of fighting it. In a recent survey conducted for the Canadian mobile carrier, Mobilicity, it looks like more and more adults are embracing this technology as well. In the survey:
  • 41% said they saw the usefulness of smartphones for lecture notes and tutoring
  • 42% said it was a good coordination tool for school activities
  • 46% said apps helped keep students organized
And because of the rise in classroom cell phone usage, it's not just teachers who are seeing the effects, businesses are too. Paper and pencils isn't the only thing students will be purchasing for the Back-to-School shopping. In fact, Best Buy is expecting a 50% increase on cell phone sales during this years Back-to-School shopping season (OttawaCitizen). Since schools aren't able to fight the use of technology in the classroom, they're using it to their advantage. Here are a few of the ways smartphones and other portable technology are used as a learning tool:
  • Interactivity: Students are better able to participate in lectures with the ability to fact-check and do on-the-spot research.
  • Access: Students have access to online notes and lecture materials.
  • Information: More and more schools are using phones to inform students of campus activity from class cancelations, to weather and emergency updates.
  • Apps: Some professors have started implementing classroom apps that contain all lecture notes, videos and feature interactive webinars.
  • Engaging: Teachers of younger students are using games to help implement concepts, engage students and keep the classroom focused on certain topics.
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