Mobilising the classroom, or not

Several articles in newspapers and in TV news we can find these days on the introduction of mobile phones in the classroom of our schools. In some cases we find articles against use and other demanding greater integration in schools of technology and mobile phones. According to ‘El Periódico’, mobile classrooms have divided the educational community. We met many schools in which completely prohibit its use, not only in the classroom, even in the playground. In relation to this perspective, the article mentioned we are as Jordi Romero, Councillor for Culture and Youth of Malgrat del Mar, states that “given the need claimed by teachers” to access into the school the mobile phone is turned off or silenced preventing their use both in the classroom and on the playground.

This perspective is not only found in that locality. In the ITworldEdu 2015 recently held, Jordi Vivancos, head of technology for learning the Generalitat, asked the assistant professors how many worked in a centre where mobile phone use was forbidden, as stated in the magazine ‘Dirigentes digital’. Half the teachers were present raised their hands. Such initiatives are undertaken by the idea that the use of mobile distracted, creates conflict and which have no pedagogical usefulness. To that reaches the situation that we can find a letter to the editor in the newspaper ‘El País’ in which it is claimed that we do not know the extent of cognitive impairment caused by the use of Smartphone to replace certain brain functions for applications.

We cannot ignore the fact that we live in a society where mobile phone use is widespread, so it makes no sense to prohibit tools that young people will have at their fingertips. Moreover, Unesco defends “the proper use of mobile” rather than ban them. It’s more to educate on proper use of technology in general and mobile in particular. As Gonzálvez (2011) supports, there is a communicative learning avalanche which requires filtering mechanisms and selection. And where better than at school to work this peculiarity. Even we find as the OECD (2005) explains that to understand and work well in this world people need to master changing technologies and understand the wealth of information available to us. Therefore it comes to getting our students become digitally competent. In addition, mobile technology brings to education connectivity, ubiquity and, above all, mobility (Cantillo, Roura and Sánchez, 2012), very interesting aspects to consider.

Although these centres exist where the use of mobile is prohibited, also found some examples where mobile become useful tools for teaching and learning. Such is the case of IES Mata Jove in Asturias in which not only mobile usage is permitted but uses it in class with established rules. As in secondary school say, it is adapted to the times rather than fight them. More examples can be found of the use of this technology in schools. But most important of all is the conviction that must be taught to use technology so that young people can face the world in which we live.

Cantillo, C., Roura, M. y Sánchez, A. (2012). Tendencias actuales en el uso de dispositivos móviles en educación. En La educación, digital magazine, 147 http://educoas.org/portal/la_educacion_digital/147/pdf/ART_UNNED_EN.pdf

Gonzálvez, V. (2011). Educación para la ciudadanía democrática en la cultura digital. En Revista Comunicar, 18 (36), pp. 131-138 DOI:10.3916/C36-2011-03-04

Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (2005). La definición y selección de competencias clave. Resumen ejecutivo. Documento en línea consultado el 12 de octubre de 2010 en http://www.deseco.admin.ch/bfs/deseco/en/index/03/02.parsys.78532.down loadList.94248.DownloadFile.tmp/2005.dscexecutivesummary.sp.pdf

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