Handphones in schools

Friday August 3, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/8/3/focus/11785391&sec=focus

NEW thinking must be incorporated for our learning goals to be achieved. Mobile devices offer the potential for a rich, multimedia learning experience, but there seems to be great apprehension among educationists regarding this.

The decision whether to allow our students to bring handphones to school has not been made.

Yet, many individuals have stated their disagreement as it can pose many negative consequences, namely the students may not pay attention in class as well as the handphones may get stolen.

Then, of course, we tend to shudder at the idea of our students being able to freely access the web as pornographic sites tend to pop up ever so often.

Mobile learning builds on the advantages offered by e-learning (i.e. allowing learners to learn when and where they choose) by expanding those advantages to a mobile platform that users can carry with them for learning on-the-move.

Mobile learning is quickly growing in popularity with the increasingly high saturation of mobile devices such as smart phones, tablet PCs, and other small screen portable devices, within both the public sector and in higher education.

We need to prepare our students to be autonomous learners so that they do not struggle once they pursue their degrees.

Of course, the act of “spoon-feeding” them will diminish if not cease altogether.

Instructional designers, trainers, and other adult educators in both the corporate world and higher education cannot afford to ignore the use of mobile devices in training and education if they wish to stay competitive and relevant.

As the education landscape becomes increasingly competitive, the ability of institutions to offer mobile learning may give them an edge over institutions lacking that capability.

As mobile content consumption continues to rise, educators need to be prepared to deliver training to mobile learners.

The main principle in 21st century learning is on using learning activities to engage learners, acknowledge the learning context, challenge learners, and provide opportunities for practice in order to contribute to quality learning experiences.

By considering learners’ creative, collaborative, communicate and critical engagement, a proper framework for mobile learning can provide a meaningful insight into a mobile learner’s achievement of knowledge.

There are some ways of overcoming the pitfalls of bringing handheld devices to schools.

Definitely, the Education Ministry will need to lay out some guidelines to teachers and students alike, such as the models and type of handheld devices that are allowed, the time and duration, as well as where these devices may be used.

Parents and teachers may work together to block certain applications which are not educational.

Let us work together to enable our future generation to benefit from mobile learning and consider all factors before we make any harsh decisions that may affect quality learning for the benefit of everyone.

JAI SHREE MAVANI

Malacca