Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Personal Learning Devices

I know that many K-12 schools struggle with the incorporation of Personal Learning Devices. It's not an easy consideration - lots of work and effort must be afforded for successful incorporation. Higher ed environments also grapple with the challenges.

These devices, whether it be a PDA, smart phone, cell phone, iPad, tablet, aren't going away and are often considered a necessity for families and individual needs. I think it's important to considers some of the positives and negatives of Personal Learning Devices and their incorporation into learning and the classroom.

Some Positives:
  • Classroom research opportunities - almost instantaneously can these opportunities be created and operationalized.
  • Frees up computer lab space/use of school-owned technology - can provide this equipment for those who cannot afford personal devices themselves.
  • Course lectures can be recorded and available for students to review material on the devices at any time.
  • Assess student learning and provide peer review feedback by using online tools
  • Create/archive student work as it is being created

Some Negatives:
  • Bandwidth and wireless access needs to be considered and could be a drain on internal administrative technology that depends on this bandwidth
  • Policing what students are looking at can be difficult (games, texting, Facebook, etc)
  • Providing additional tech support (what happens if there are tech failures? what would be the back-up plan).
I know there are many other positives and negatives (we could be here forever identifying them). But overall, I think it's something all schools should consider and should considered holistically (and inclusively) if they decide to.

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