User Generated Education

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Chapter in Handbook of Mobile Learning: Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices

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The Handbook of Mobile Learning has just been published through Routledge: Taylor and Francis – see http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415503693/.  I am excited to have a chapter in this edited book, Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices.  Here is the introduction to my chapter:

People in the 21st Century are using their own mobile devices – iPads, netbooks, laptops, and smart phones – to be consumers and producers of digital content, and to be active participants in online communities.  They are connecting with one another through mobile technologies in unprecedented ways. Computers, Wi-Fi networks, and smart phones allow young people 24/7 access to technology and to one another.   They are familiar and comfortable with social networking and using a variety of apps via their devices.  Nielson (2010), in a survey of teen mobile device use, reported that 94% percent of teen users identified themselves as advanced data users, turning to their mobile devices for messaging, Internet, multimedia, gaming, and other activities like downloads.

When educators leverage these types of informal learning by giving agency to the students to use their mobile technologies and by providing the structure and skills for their use within more formal educational settings, motivation and learning are increased.  Using mobile devices in educational settings as learning and community building tools can promote interpersonal communication, encourage young people to positively express their individuality and build their student-to-student, and student-to-educator relationships. The strategic and intentional use of cell phones, social networking sites, laptops, blogs, and digital cameras can build diversity and cultural sensitivity, teamwork and problem solving, self-reflection and self-exploration, and communication and self-expression.

This chapter introduces the use of mobile devices as a means to build community and teamwork within a variety of classroom settings: face-to-face, blended, and virtually.  This discussion has four components: research that supports the use of student-owned mobile devices for building community in the classroom, evidence to support the importance of promoting community in the classroom, team-building activities using mobile devices, and the results of a end-of-course student survey about using mobile devices for community building,

. . . and an excerpt:

MOBILE DEVICES USE PATTERNS SUPPORT COMMUNITY BUILDING

People of all ages, almost from all parts of the world, are using their mobile devices to communicate, connect, and share personal experiences.  They are building their own informal learning and social communities via their mobile devices and social networking sites.  This section discusses the research about mobile device use patterns.  It becomes the foundation not only for providing a rationale for the use of mobile devices in the classroom, but also serves as a guide for the types of technologies and activities that are best suited for mobile-driven community building activities.

Mobile Phone Ownership and Use Patterns Among United States Teens

A Pew Research report entitled, Teens and Mobile Phones, released April, 2010, noted that as of September 2009, 75% of American teens ages 12-17 own cell phone.  This number has steadily increased from 45% of teens in November 2004. Cell phones have become ubiquitous in the lives of teens today, with ownership cutting across demographic groups and geographical locations.

As expected, texting was the top activity of cell phone using teens with taking and sharing pictures, playing music, and recording and exchanging videos also being popular uses.

Worldwide Use of Cell Phones

Mobile device use has become a world-wide phenomenon allowing informal learning and social networking to cross over geographical divides.  Pew Research (2011) released a report entitled, Texting, Social Networking Popular Worldwide.  The three key findings from this report that support mobile-driven community-building activities are:

  1. Cell phones are owned and used throughout the world.
  2. Cell phones are being used for texting, taking photos, and using the Internet. Cell phones are owned by large majorities of people in most major countries around the world.  They are used for much more than just phone calls. In particular, text messaging is a global phenomenon – across the 21 countries surveyed, a median of 75% of cell phone owners say they text.
  3. Young people worldwide are likely to use their cell phones for social networking (Pew Research, 2011).

The usage is similar to that seen with United States teens.  Text messaging is prevalent in 19 of 21 countries with a majority of mobile phone owners regularly sending text messages.  Many also use their mobile phones to take pictures and record video (Pew Research, 2011).

Mobile device use crosses across socio-economic boundaries and geographic locations.  People are using them for texting, photo-sharing, and other forms of social networking.  In other words, people are already using mobile devices to build their own informal learning and sharing communities, so it becomes a natural progression and extension to bring this type of learning into the educational environment.

Finally, here is a slidedeck that I use when presenting on this topic:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

May 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm

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