User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Using Mobile Devices and Technology to Enhance Emotional Intelligence

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I often start my blogs with a rationale for how and why I teach the way I do.  Here are a few related to the activity I describe in this post.

  1. Classroom activities should be authentic, engaging, and student-centric.  Students can learn the theory on their own time using the textbook and media (PPTs, Slidehares, Videos).  Face-to-face class time should be spent on having students experience the concepts.
  2. Classroom activities can and should be continually tweaked to reflect the current out-of-class environments, culture, and society-at-large.  Currently, I am asking myself, “How can I integrate the mobile devices that my young college students are using in their own lives into our learning activities?”
  3. Along with my goal of continuous improvement of learning activities comes the desire and need for continuous reflection.  I view it as an informal type of action-research which includes my observations and student written reactions to and reflections about the class activities.

The Activity:  Using Mobile Devices to Create a Personalized Feeling Chart

Students were introduced to the feelings cards by selecting the cards that matched their feelings at that moment  . . .

In small groups, students selected 10-15 feelings cards and set up scenarios that represented each of feelings selected.  They used their own mobile device to take photos of these images  . . .


The photos were directly upload to Flickr via an email.  The full process is described by Lisa Nielson in Using Flickr to Collect Images Captured on Cell Phones.

As you can see the uploaded images created a personalized feelings poster.  Students were provided with scenarios and asked to locate on the Interactive White Board which of these displayed images that they created best represented how they would feel in that situation.

Instructor Reflections

  • This class meets once a week from 6 to 9:40 PM.  Most of the students are within the 18-20 age group.  Because it is an evening course and many of the students work, they are tired when they come to class.  As I stated above, I do not use our time together to lecture.  The first half of this night’s class was used doing some self-assessments and large group discussion.  Student interest faded in and out with some students being more actively involved in the discussions.  The activity described above was introduced about midway through the class.  The energy level of the students rose dramatically, all students engaged, all laughing, smiling and enjoying themselves and what they were doing.  Was it the small groups?  The fun activity? The use of their mobile devices to take photos?  Seeing themselves projected on the big screen?
  • The second major observation – more of an “aha” was related to the devices the students were using.  Most had cells phones, a few had laptops.  These students, as a group, are classified as lower income students.  None of their devices had the capability to download apps.  What this says to me as the educator is that when I am designing activities that use the students own devices in my BYOD classroom, that they cannot include the use of apps.  They have camera, email, texting, internet capabilities, but no way to use apps.  Interestingly, as I was thinking about this today, a related article was posted on Edutopia Should We Be Concerned About an “App Gap”?  by Audrey Watters.

Student Reflections

Students post their reactions to class activities each week via our class Facebook Page. Here are some reflections about the emotional intelligence activities:

We picked out about 8 emotions in groups and went around the school to take pictures of ways to describe those emotions. I had a lot of fun with this project.  It was fun to work together and be creative while finding ways to explain emotions. After that we got to play a board game which was also a lot of fun. I really enjoyed this class.

We also got to take pictures of different emotions and put them into a slideshow that we later used for a game. I think that we all learned a lot about each other from our photos. I, for one, had an absolute blast making these and getting to hear everybody else’s emotional experiences.

We also got into groups and had to use the emotions card and go around and take a picture of them to display them. I  had so much fun doing this. I think that if we all really talked about our emotions, we would know how to control them very well.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm

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