NECC 2009: Hall Davidson on Mobile Phones


From Banned to Planned: Cell Phones in Schools” is the title of Hal Davidson’s spotlight session this year (session materials are here). I figured I’d go see him again this year as I really enjoyed his talk at NECC 2008 in San Antonio. The room seemed emptier than last year, which seems a little odd, as there has been a lot of talk about mobile phones and mobile learning at NECC this year (however, more people did enter during the session, which was quite entertaining).

Hall compared NECC 2008  and 2009, 2 cell phone sessions as compared to 13 this year!!

Hall Davidson first mentioned polleverywhere and Liz Kolb’s book on cellphones. He then proceeded to give Liz a call, and talked with her about Hall asked Liz about her favorite site and she mentioned and how some teachers she knows use the tool. Lots of shameless plugs here, but some useful resources as well…

Rethink, return, rename: Why are we still calling our mobile phones cell phones? In Korea and other parts of Asia the device is called a hand phone (hence many of the advertisements there show a hand holding a phone). In Japan it’s called a “keitai”: a device that’s with you all the time: “snug and intimate technosocial tethering .. a mundane presence in everyday life” (quote from the Personal, Portable, Pedestrian book).

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is covered by mobile phones, according to Davidson (ironic but true):

  • basic physiological needs: order pizza
  • safety and security: anti-bullying friend
  • belonging: texting, networking
  • esteem:
  • self-actualization: turn your phone off

Mobile: It’s America: free speech, freedom of the press, right to assemble (mob!!), petition the government. As compared for example to how these freedoms are currently being stifled in Iran, following its presidential election.

So what name should we give a mobile phone? Telepotent? Telemundo? Some answers that are given via polleverywhere are communicator, telemanager, infophone, …..

Challenge-based learning: finding answers to questions, basically… (not sure how this is so different from problem-based or inquiry-based learning, other than that you could potentially get your answers quicker).

The new student skills: national texting competition: texting the alphabet backwards, texting the Gettysburg Address while being distracted, text and dodge. The point is: students like their phones.

Shows qik and how you can embed it in Google Earth, pretty cool stuff…

Notion that a cell phone is different: it’s an input, output, and analysis device.

Shows Shazam, the music recognition software.

Shows QR codes! Example: CAOS Living Book, a book of QR codes that’s constantly updated, because the data behind the QR codes is updated. I wonder if he knows about the SIGML forum from yesterday.

Using QR codes for assignments is a possibility, and Hall also showed an example of codes that will then show 3d images on a computer screen.

Amazon has acquired an image recognition technology company. Hall described a scenario where you could take a picture with your phone of a pair of shoes somebody has, and Amazon can then hook you up with the same pair.

Called Vicki Davis who was presenting in another session. She didn’t pick up, but Hall had one of her videos that shows how you can determine mobile phone technologies for classroom use. CPA: cost per assignment use.

Joe Fatheree (at the session): talked about how he started using mobile phones in his classroom, when he found out how a kid one day shot a video using just his mobile phone.

Need to create a pathway to success:

  • brainstorm how to use phones with kids (link to standards) -> action plan
  • work with administrator next to find a way to make this work
  • communicate with parents: letter and parent survey (find out what phone plans they have)

Location-based teachable moments in student lives. Text a writing prompt as an assignment.

All in all another entertaining session and a great way to wrap up NECC this year, well almost.

Image Credit: Rob Pettit:

One response to “NECC 2009: Hall Davidson on Mobile Phones

  1. Pingback: Carnival of the Mobilists: #182 « – Temp V.1

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