One hundred and tenth åsic- School Smart with Smartphones

A lot of facts can nowadays be easily found on the internet. Many skills will soon be forgotten and a five-year-old can google just about anything with no help from an adult. I sometimes feel old when I notice how my kids know things I spent a lot of time learning. All they need to do is google. At work I notice that the gap between those who know how to handle IT and those who don’t is increasing. There will be no equality unless students get their computers thru school and also good instruction from skilled teachers. There will always be students with parents who either cannot afford a new computer, or maybe don’t understand to what extent their kid will be left out in school if they cannot be online and use internet as the rest of the kids. Being curious is a good start!

Even if we may think some things were better THEN than they are NOW, we need to at least try to go with the flow…

Otherwise we, the teachers, would soon be relics, too… Stored and filed side by side with flanellograms,

chalkboards and sandpits with sticks…

griffeltavla.jpg (637×510)

In subjects where a smartphone is a rich resource I don’t fully understand why schools still say students cannot use their phones in class. The teacher has a great opportunity getting things done a lot more easy by accepting the use of smartphones when it IS smart to use them. When we don’t find the solutions to meanings of words, the smartphones serve as dictionaries and saves a lot of time, compared to finding out by a visit at the local library, but that is not the only way to save time with a smartphone in a classroom!

Let me share a few examples from my own classroom, which is a language learning classroom with Swedish as a Second Language as the one and only subject. The students and I talk a lot about things we read, listen to or watch. I always try to help them by writing additional examples on my white board. This is however not a classroom with a SMARTBOARD, but just an ordinary poorly equipped in-the-basement-classroom. When the whiteboard is completely filled with comments, words and phrases connected to the topic we discuss I either take a photo myself and later I re-write some of the unreadable stuff for my students, OR I ask them to simply use their smartphones and take a photo of my notes. That’s quick and easy and also a SMART way to use PHONES.

Another thing with language learning is to use the phone for pronunciation. Many students in my classroom merely meet one person who speaks Swedish and I am that person. Although I try to give them several suggestions to where they can listen to Swedish, or perhaps meet Swedish people and talk to them, it is very difficult to some of them. Their smartphones is thus an excellent way to help them out at least with pronunciation of difficult words or phrases and also more than anything else, the quality of the sounds of the nine Swedish vowels, when put in different positions of words or phrases. When students record my pronunciation and go back home and listen, repeat, and their own pronunciation improves rapidly. So, if I would stick to the rules of many classrooms and say ”Don’t use your smartphone in class!” my students would have a tougher time learning Swedish.

Ines Uusmann, Minister for Infrastructure, seemed to believe that the internet would be forgotten after a few years, although it is said that the reason why everyone remembers, is that the headline for the article was a fake quote. This is in fact (in Swedish, though…) what she said:

”Jag vågar inte ha någon alldeles bestämd uppfattning men jag tror inte att folk i längden kommer att vilja ägna så mycket tid, som det faktiskt tar, åt att surfa på nätet. […] Att sitta och surfa på nätet tar en himla massa tid. Vad är det bra för? […] Det kanske är så att det är något som vuxit upp nu. Alla pratar om internet men kanske är det övergående och sedan blir inriktningen mer specificerad”

Ines Uusman citerad i Svenska Dagbladet, 12 maj 1996.

Källa: Rydén, Daniel, ”Dimmor på nätet”, Sydsvenskan, 4 mars 2007.

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