Today the 7th graders went back to visit the 3rd graders for Part 2 of their Augmented Reality project. The students were working on drawing a self portrait, providing 5 clues, then revealing themselves in a video. The self-portrait becomes a trigger image which launches the video on a downloaded app through which you can view both the trigger image and the video or image connected to it.
This project is run almost 100% on the students’ personal smart phone devices. Students who don’t have their own devices buddy up with someone or borrow one of my personal devices. I have nothing to hide–which reminds me of this post from another teacher who lets students rummage through his iPhone to show that living publicly on the internet means there’s nothing to hide on a personal phone either.
Although each student has a MacBook provided by the school, the Aurasma app we’re using runs on a mobile device. I would have to rely on students’ personal smart phones for the bulk of the unit.
This led me to consider how powerful it is for 12 year old students to be able to simply carry around in their backpack a MacBook and an iPhone, Android or Galaxy phone. Here’s a list of school-related ways they use their phones:
- Snapping pictures of the homework assignment slide in the last few minutes of the lesson (which they have to show to me before leaving class)
- Shooting videos for PE: dance videos or other how-to sports-related videos which they edit and post
- Searching the internet when their laptop runs out of power (Every day there is a prolonged hunt for a charger by at least 1 or 2 people because they don’t like to carry their chargers around and also the chargers are fragile when handled improperly. Replacements are not easy to find in Jakarta. It’s the modern version of the constant grind of the pencil sharpener interrupting the lesson.)
- High-tech 3×5 cards during speeches where all the notes are displayed on the internal notepad
- Preparing music for assemblies or “easy listening” while doing independent work
Non-school related activities are plenty, but one of my favorites is the digital compact. Who needs a mirror when you have your camera to check for something between your teeth?
Without textbooks or a specific IT curriculum with benchmarks, other than the MYP (Middle Years Program) Design Cycle, I have been challenged to be extra resourceful this year in IT lesson plans. Like that kid in PE who thrives in the gym, but may struggle elsewhere, the students I rely on most can often be socially awkward but really comfortable troubleshooting.
Are students allowed to use smart phones in class at your school? What are the guidelines for use? I’d love to hear how your students use their smart phones in your classroom or in your district.
P.S. I have had to rely on wifi hotspots, not a SIM card (the pay as you go version of most phones in Asia) for my data access with my devices in Indonesia. I won’t go into the details about how a US iPhone on a lease plan does not have a SIM card port. But the students all have their prepaid cards and sometimes the G3 is really “lagg-y” so today my teacher devices came to the rescue when we were hitting glitches with the G3 connection. My devices were humming along due to the IT guys sparking my 2 devices to be automatically connected to the school’s wifi. This meant I had stronger connections than many students’ devices which were not always connecting. As a result, many students sought me out as a possible alternative when their apps kept swirling, attempting to make a connection with the Aurasma library of short video clips they had taken and were attempting to upload for use.