MobileLearning 09 Conference, Day 2, Closing Panel

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The closing panel for Mobile Learning 09 was entitled: Are Mobile Devices an Enabler or Distraction to Educators? The panel included Marjo Brandon, co-founder of Seattle Girls’ School, Dr. Kathy Spencer, the superintendent of Onslow Co. Schools, and Thomas Hutton, senior staff attorney for the National School Board Association. The panel was moderated by Dr. Ann Flynn, the Director of NSBA.

Ann Flynn: NSBA
Important things:

  • Leadership, regardless of technology, and vision
  • Engaging the community
  • PD
  • Innovation in schools by more than a handful of people, it needs to be systemic
  • Building and district level integration of innovation

Marja Brandon: Seattle Girls’ School (grades 5-8) 

  • Integrated curriculum (based on neuroscience research): what makes learning stick? Connected, applied, relevant, appealing.
  • Importance to staying ahead of the curve.
  • Take care of the teachers in all of this: PD

Kathy Spencer: Onslow Co Schools

  • 21st century skills (endorsed by DOPI in NC)
  • 21st century content, tools, environment (mmmm, sounds familiar) 
  • Teachers need the tools to be able to move forward -> opportunity. The tool doesn’t really matter.
  • Importance of recruiting good teachers
  • Importance of teaching appropriate uses of technology!!!
  • Integrity of the work we do.

Thomas Hutton, NSBA

  • Things to think about, not barriers to innovation.
  • Managing the presence of technology in schools
  • Variety of restrictions on cell phones at school
  • Some exceptions, e.g. to accommodate for a disability
  • Abuses of technology are real (every new innovation raises issues), inappropriate picture taking, cyber bullying, threatening IMs…. First Amendment issues
  • Restrictions on 1:1 communications (due to teachers having inappropriate relationships with students, initiated through electronic channels).
  • What happens when a phone is confiscated? Can a school see what’s on that phone (violation of search and seizure? Violation of state wiretapping law (when listening to voicemails on a company’s server)?)
  • Run-of-the-mill concerns have more to do with cheating, distraction.
  • When using students’ own equipment for learning that brings about other issues.
    • Privacy protection
    • At what point do costs that parent have to incur start to look like tuition?
    • First Amendment: private expression v. school “jurisdiction” (private v. public)

Alterations to AUPs?

  • Incorporate tools in curriculum and then covering it in AUP. Making potential issues visible to parents and the community.
  • Separate AUP for Project K-Nect for the use of the cell phones in the classroom. Different AUP for students bringing their own phones (can’t access phones in classroom without instructor’s permission). In a few cases teacher has let students use personal phones to access Project K-Nect materials (so how would teachers be able to monitor those?? Would that be invasion of privacy?)

Making sure everything is grounded in strategic planning, mission, and vision.

Also, what do you do when you are at the end of the implementation and kids move on to the next grade? Same thing happened in PEP. This is an old problem of sustainability. Tech should move with the kids from grade to grade!! This is also an issue from a research point of view when we say we should be doing longitudinal research. We should be following kids over time, not research a different set of kids each year (or maybe do both).

Image Credit: “Capitol Butter”, my camera phone  :)

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