Mobile Communications

Mobile technology is and will continue to make increasing impact on learning, discovery and networking. However, there is no mobile phone service where I live or teach, so using the internet is not easy whilst at school or home on a mobile device unless it has wireless access.
On the occasions when I have had access to the internet on my mobile phone, I have used urbanspoon to find a restaurant nearby that served reasonably priced quality food and that was highly recommended by people who had already eaten there (not food judges, advertisements etc but real consumers). When stuck in a traffic jam in Melbourne and needing to be at a meeting within minutes of the jam, my daughter helped me use google maps which showed the extent of the jam and the predicted time to get to my destination. This allowed me to alter my driving route and get to the meeting on time. As I love travelling, I use the tripadvisor app for all manner of things when away from home. Having a mobile device means that I can join in webinars whilst travelling on a train (with my mobile dongle connected to my laptop), moderate weekly webinars from a hotel room when absent from home etc.

But….back to the classroom and learning! Students love learning to use new tools and apps and enjoy using qr codes. Their suggestions have been to add qr codes to the canteen menu, so that food sold can be broken down into calories, fat content, health scaling etc. Scavenger hunts for new students or at the beginning of the year, “word of the day”, “quiz question” of the day etc could appear as a qr code on the daily bulletin, teacher blog, student blog or ultranet etc

However, one of the most exciting and meaningful uses for students is to take a group of students (or class) from another country on a virtual tour of the school. Each of our students has their own netbook from year 5 through to year 12. They have inbuilt microphones and webcams. Using skype, a student or small group of students walk their netbook or my laptop around the school and surroundings (using wireless access) to share exactly what our rural school looks like and the spaces that they enjoy learning in. It teaches them so much- appropriate communication and diction, how to cope with different accents/cultures, ability to answer questions succinctly, the use of a web camera to give a clear, reasonably static video tour, allows them to introduce small groups of students who may be working on projects, shows what our lunchtimes look like etc. When skype is not stable, google chat video always seems to work, giving a clear video and audio.

Some of the ways that students use their netbooks or mobile devices – completing homework in the car on a three and a half hour drive to Melbourne and completing their homework on a school bus trip that might take 1 or 2 hours each way from home. Those who travel the longest distances love to listen to the quiz question of the day on the radio, others quickly google or look up the answers with their mobile device.  Others uses include taking photos for the 365 project, using the device to take the photo and then upload to their site, learning to play slap guitar from youtube, adding cover songs to youtube and learning from others who have already done so.

How have you used mobile technology in or out of your classroom? How have your students used them innovatively for learning?

Mobile technology is and will continue to make increasing impact on learning, discovery and networking. However, there is no mobile phone service where I live or teach, so using the internet is not easy whilst at school or home on a mobile device unless it has wireless access.



5 responses to “Mobile Communications

  1. A very engaging post, Anne. Although I teach in a private capacity rather than a classroom, I do meet with teachers and I found much here to keep me up to date. Not only that, I was fascinated by the way technology can be used as a fun learning tool. So often I hear negative remarks about new technology e.g. being the cause of breakdown in communication, but you have demonstrated that is in fact the opposite. Like everything, I guess, it’s not what the tool is but how it is used. (By the way, the paragraphs are repeated when I view it but maybe that’s the way it is meant to be?) JB 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment. I want to write more about the use of mobile technology and personally feel that if we had mobile phone service could do so much more with the technology. Perhaps I should have mentioned that we are a school who has moved from banning mobile phones are school (four or five years ago) to allowing students to use them is teachers approve of their use in classroom. However, these devices do not have school wireless access, but the student netbooks do.
      Thank you for alerting me to the fact that I had doubled up on the text. I have now removed that repetition. As I added this post to the Flat Classroom ning ( and forgot to save my original in word, I copied and pasted from the ning to my wordpress blog. The background colour showed up on the blog post as well. My son who is home from South Africa on holidays showed me how to use paste special >txt format only and in my excitement at learning how to fix it, I doubled up on the entry. Do you use mobile technology for your work as an author and story teller?

      • I am learning to use technology more. As an oral storyteller I use it very little but am willing to look at ways I could use it. We (oral storytellers) have recently begun to use Skype. For instance, we sometimes have a Skype videoconference to practise our stories. As an author I use the internet frequently for research of course, and I use social media to connect with other writers and the world. As an educator I also use Skype for videoconferencing for distant students as part of my Distance Tuition program. I was interested to read in your blog about Google Chat Video and I will check that out. I think teachers and librarians are fantastic at showing us the way. So your teaching is extending beyond the classroom and that is due to technology. I love it! JB 🙂

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