Can the use of mobile phones/ iPads in class be controlled, or will they be a constant distraction and an easy way to 'doss' in class?!

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I think they can be a degree of control for the use of mobile phones and iPads, so instead of letting the students go on them whenever they wish, the teacher could instruct the students when its appropriate to use such devices and they be put to the side when attention is needed else where. They should be another tool to aid learning; for instance, the students have to do research on a topic, they may not be enough computers for the whole class or any at all near by, so iPads can be really useful here. The teacher will be around and can see what the students are doing, but yes students could still go off task and look at sites which aren't relevant, but they can do this if they were in the library or anywhere else. A degree of trust and ownership needs to be placed on the students and if they don't complete the task as they're messing around, that would need to be addressed.

If students want the iPads for typing notes in class, then it will be about trust and if students abuse that trust too much, then they won't be able to use the iPads for such means in future; this would have to be specified from the start.

The control needed will depend on the learners and if its a privilege for them to use such devices then privileges can be revoked if needed.

If students want to 'doss' then they'll find any means possible, so if they are 'dossing' maybe there's more issues to be addressed and may not have anything to do with the freedom to be able to use electronic devices.
I think that the use of mobiles and iPads in the classroom is very effective, it enables learners to research any topics or information by themselves. However there is always going to be some learners who will take this opportunity for granted. In order to address this I feel the teacher should be more observant, by moving around the classroom to check what the learners are doing. Also the teacher could control when the learners use their iPads, by setting a time limit to find out information will give them no time to go wondering on the Internet. In general I feel by giving learners iPads it is showing the learners that we re trusting them to use it appropriately.
I like the time limit idea, this really focuses the students on the task in hand and like you said it then doesn't give them time to go wandering.

Hi Emma

I think that the use of mobile phones/iPads in class can be controlled providing that they are managed properly by the teacher and used for worthwhile activities. It is a great way to engage students and bring functionality into the classroom. I think they would work well particularly at Secondary level as most young students seem to be experts in using these devices. From experience, students always try to get their phones out at some point during a lesson, so why not use their skills and apply them to new problem areas to increase their knowledge?

I agree with Mel and Andrea about a time limit. If you give the students a time limit for tasks set then they won't have the opportunity to 'doss' and 'accidentaly' go on social networking sites etc.

Hi Emma

From just leaving my degree last year, and from my placement I have seen no reason for students to use mobiles in my area (Graphic Design). If students need to access the internet they use computers there is no reason for them to use their mobiles unless they are on facebook or texting. But that is just in my area it may be different for others.

Hi everyone, thanks for all your thoughts,

Jo, it sounds like you have a great set up in your area. The performing arts department don’t have access to their own computers, so a trip to the library or a computer room would be necessary. There is then not only the issue of wasted time travelling to the computer suites and back, but also the possibility that they may all be occupied. (Of course they can be booked if there is an entire session in which the computers will be needed, but what should be done, for example, when a simple question needs research?)

After using mobile phones for internet access in class during my degree, I do feel that they would be inclusive and offer equality. Although not every learner may have a mobile phone or an ipad I think with the right task set they could share or delegate. An example of this could be a short research task where learners are to find out information about a particular musical, one learner could take charge of the device whilst another takes on the role of a scribe.

As Andrea and Melissa suggested the use of a time limit is vital. I’m not sure this will stop all disruptive behaviour, although I do agree it would make most learners consider their actions, knowing they only have a short space of time to complete the task and that they will be behind if they don’t.

When it comes to taking notes on the ipad I think if the information delivered by the teacher is interesting and of importance to the learner then they will make the most of the opportunity given to them. However, if it is misused and the trust is lost, I totally agree that there should be consequences.

I have to say I agree with you Jo, technology has come along in such a way that the majority of classrooms have, or have access to, computers or a computer room. They are a) faster and b) easier to control by the teacher or college intranet. 

It also may isolate some students who don't have the latest up to date tech. I know the MOST people will have the latest iPhone or android or whatever other ones there are, but i've had my iPhone for about 4 years now, it's one of the oldest models, and is so much slower than everyone else's that i'd get left behind if i was to use it to it's full capacity.

The use of teaming up the tech is a good idea to combat alienating someone. Also, the size of theatre classes can be staggering to haul over to a new room, sit down, get set up and start researching. 

Ellie makes a good point below - giving them that chance to be mature students who are allowed to look on their phones for class purposes.

How would you combat misuse though, if someone does decide to take it too far?

Gina :-)

Hi Emma,
I feel that giving students in an FE situation an opportunity to prove they can act maturely with technology can help to combat the gap between school and college. By asking students to use their mobiles in a productive way, the feeling of 'breaking the rules' by using them is gone, and therefore it could potentially mean that the use of mobiles in a disruptive way is contained. Of course, if they take advantage of this then the privelidge should be removed, but if they are aware of this at the start hopefully they will act responsibly and with maturity.
Hi Ellie,
Thanks for your comment. I think your right. It comes down to how the learners want to be treated and whether they're ready to be young adults and take on new and exciting technologies alongside the norm.
Let me know if any of you put this to the test! I shall do the same :)

I will let you know.  My school is starting a BYOT program in a couple of weeks.  Our whole school is wifi.  We are an elementary school in the metro Atlanta area. 

Students  and staff can bring and use their own technology.

Wow, it would be great to hear back from you Carla, when the 'Bring Your Own Technology'? learning starts!

How do you feel about it at the moment, and what is the hopes or expectations of the school?

Emma, Well, I am all for technology in the classroom. In the past few years, my school administration has stressed the usage of the MOBI, clickers, document cameras, laptops,

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