iPhone being trialled in British classroom. Luddites rebel.

By andy

iPhones have been used as a lure for students for several years now, but it’s the first time I’ve seen such an experiment happening in the UK.

A West London school is trialling the use of iPhones to aid in teaching, and good luck to them I say.

A group of student volunteers have been lent iPhones and have to pay around £10 ($15) per month for the cost of calls. They are then able to use them in the classroom to aid in group discussion and learning.

Thanks to the range of applications, plus access to the Internet, it’s possible to learn all manner of things via the iPhone. The news report I watched showed students enthusiastically viewing the Periodic Table and the works of Shakespeare on screen.

It’s a far cry from when I was at school (not that long ago, thanks very much).

We were lucky to get one computer between two or three — and that was in the IT Lab. Computers in every classroom? Forget it.

Oh, and mobile phones hadn’t been invented.

Many schools ban mobile phones from the classroom, or even the school, because it can be distracting, but it’s definitely well past time to see the benefit in using mobile technology to aid teaching.

One unnamed critic believes that “learning by computers has not yet been proven”. Funny, that. I’ve been using computers for twenty years and I’d say I’ve learnt a great deal. Much of that time was pre-Internet, too.

It’s very easy to look at the negatives of technology and the Internet, but far more beneficial to spend some time creatively looking into helping kids learn using the gadgets they’re already using every day.

Don’t burn the books, or close the libraries, or stop kids visiting historic sites and going on field trips, or teaching them how to write, or add up without using a calculator — but don’t use poor excuses to stifle innovation.

Kids that want to learn will use the technology well. Those that don’t want to learn are going to use gadgets whether or not it’s sanctioned. At least this way, they might still be educated.

(Photo credit: LizMarie)

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