On October 19, 2013, Discovery Education again wowed us with their full day of presentations, 23 in all. Since it was impossible to participate in all the events, all presentations have been archived and are available at http://www.discoveryeducation.com/community/den-fall-virtcon-archive.cfm
I know many of us intend to go back and view some that we missed, but with new stuff coming at us, it’s very easy to forget. Fortunately, Steve Dembo has come up with an idea to help us to remember. He made a sign-up sheet and asked folks on the blog team to sign-up and blog about one of the archived sessions. Posts will run from November 7 through January 26, until every session is highlighted.
As part of the DEN blog team, I chose to recap my presentation for the DEN Virtual Conference in October 2013 not just to toot my own horn (as that makes me very uncomfortable!) but to point out some key ideas shared in the virtual presentation. My session was titled, “Cell Phone Tricks and Treats” and the resources, slideshare, livebinder, etc. have been crossposted on my own blog.
The presentation started with research showing the huge increase in cell phone usage and children, ‘tweens’ and teens over time. Laptop and desktop hardware/software purchases are down with mobile devices being a definite focal point in budget, technology integration strategies and professional development sessions. There are a huge amount of effective apps to use with cell phones and mobile devices designed for all ages and that is partially why student cell phone use has become ubiquitous.
In New York City, students are not allowed to have cell phones on campus as they cannot get through the metal detectors so students ‘check-in/check-out’ their phones at paid storage locations such as bodegas and mobile trucks parked near schools. When a student arrives they check in their phone for a fee of $1-$6 a day. They pick up their phone after school hoping the phone is still there, not damaged and the storage facility hasn’t been broken into and their phone stolen. Parents then must pay for the phone, the phone service plan, and the daily storage fees and in a school year of around 180 days, the increase fees can become exorbitant. This demonstrates just how important it is for students to have access to their phones from both parents and students. The link to the article and research detailing this occurrence in included in the Livebinder resource link at the end of this post.
Apps for cell phones and other mobile devices come and go and it is difficult to keep up with the advancements in the apps as well as which apps are still active, free and available to use. This presentation focused on apps that could be used by the teacher personally and professionally, or with students, parents and administrators. There were a variety of apps shared and only apps presented that were free to use and could be used for educational purposes in numerous ways were included in the presentation. Apps that were considered to be a ‘freemium app’, meaning they have a free version with limited features and a paid version for full access to all of the features, were also shared with the focus on the free version. There are pros and cons to using only the free versions so consider that when you are experimenting with the apps mentioned and decide if it is best to purchase individually, use only the free version or use a volume purchasing agreement for deployment to campus mobile devices.
One of the most important points shared during the presentation was about the ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ (AUP) that every campus/district has regarding the use of the internet and what is allowed/not allowed regarding the use of technology equipment and software in the classroom. Many educators may not have seen their district’s AUP since they signed it when first hired. Educational technology has certainly evolved yet the incorporation of the devices and software have not been as readily accepted in the classroom with students nor updated in the AUP. This session stressed that while cell phones may not currently be allowed to be used with students in the classroom, thoughtful consideration of modifying and updating AUPs should occur with district administrators, instructional technology personnel and the tech support employees. Hopefully this presentation showed research data, strategies to demonstrate the need for students to bring and use their cell phones or other mobile device in the classroom, as well as ways to approach administrators to discuss this all important issue facing educators and students today.
There were some technical difficulties in the middle of the presentation causing the video to be posted in two parts. Hopefully all that were present stayed, got what they expected and wanted out of the session, and continue promoting effective use of cell phones and other means of technology integration on their campus or in school districts around the world.
Cell Phones Livebinder link: http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=364126
Link to presentation page: http://virtconlive.com/presentations/Cell_Phones_in_the_Classroom_Tricks_and_Treats
Link to the Livestream video Part I: http://new.livestream.com/DEN/events/2471741/videos/33118722
Link to the Livestream video Part II: http://new.livestream.com/DEN/events/2471741/videos/32608025