Learning from Students

A common sense application of mobile phones!

Students often make innovative and efficient use of technology. There is so much that can be learned from them, with them and by observing them. This was really pushed home to me earlier this week, when I asked students to copy (my untidy) notes from the whiteboard in accounting. One girl, immediately pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of it, saving 10 minutes or so of hand written work! This same student travels on a bus for 1 1/2 hours each way, each day of the school week – a total 3 hour round trip. She can pull up her images and study them during this time.

Why hadn’t I thought of that? I shall certainly be encouraging students to do this in the future. I am also determined to give students at least 5 minutes of my class each week, to simply share what technology they are using, what tools/technology they have played with this week, any concerns they have from the use of technology etc.

How have you noticed students independently using technology for learning? Have these really just made common sense? How do you learn from students – especially in regard to their use of technology?

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10 responses to “Learning from Students

  1. HI. I often think this. I teach students so many tools and they end up teaching me different ways of using these tools. Great example of this.

  2. Hello! One of my students always uses her mobile for taking notes of her home assignment.

    • annemirtschin

      Hi Tatyana, are mobile phones allowed in most schools in Russia. I think your student is making great use of her phone. It is always at their fingertips for study, revision, homework etc. Do you know what software she uses to take notes on the mobile phones.

    • annemirtschin

      Toni, that is why I just love teaching. Being at the classroom level, means that there can sometimes by 26 different approaches to using a software tool and hardware. Students push the software to the boundaries and often use it in ways not even thought up by their creators. Students are certainly the experts on using mobile phones!

    • annemirtschin

      Do most of your students have mobile phones, Tatyana? How do they find the smaller keyboard for taking notes?

  3. Its fun to see that you are actually letting students do this, I dont see a reason why you shouldn’t.

    When I was in the university, we used to do this to copy (lets say) “notes”, but mobile phones in general were frowned upon by the staff. Of course, all of them had one of those in their pockets, still for some reason, we werent allowed to have one.

    This is cool :)

    • annemirtschin

      After watching Renee do this, it is just common sense. The device is in their pocket and can be used for effective learning. Our school banned mobile phones five years ago, but over the last three years has allowed students to have them on their person. They can be used in class but only with the teacher’s consent. We do not really have mobile phone service in our school, but students seem to be able to work out the patches where they can send and receives txt msgs.

    • annemirtschin

      Thanks Arun. On tonight’s television news there was much talk of banning mobile phones in schools again as students are setting up fights, filming them and then uploading to youtube. There are so many positive ways to use mobile phones in school. I really enjoyed taking a look at your blog and will return there.

  4. Hi Anne,
    I am sorry, I have just seen your question. I know, some schools don’t allow mobile phones at school at all. Mobiles are not allowed during state exams. There are no rules about them in my school. Neither my students nor I make phone calls during lessons unless it is necessary. You know, I am teaching students with disabilities. In fact, I can’t remember them using their phones rather than show me some picture and speak about them, or take notes, or record themselves. I think, it is better to make good use of technology than to ban it in class.
    All my students have mobiles, even the one with palsy who has difficulty using his hands. He has iPhone (has had several versions, in fact), iPad and some other gadgets at home. My kids are used to dealing with different keyboards during their face-to-face lessons.
    My student Mary uses the app ‘Заметки’ on her Samsung Mobile TV. The word means ‘notes’ in English. She is taking exams this week, I will ask her to show the app to me next week.

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