Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
While many schools in New Zealand still have a ban on mobile phones, some schools are beginning to realise their huge potential as a learning tool providing students with personalised access to information 24/7.
Studies have shown that not only can a “culture of responsible use” with mobile phones be developed in schools but students are also far too busy participating in their new learning environment to want to play “virtual hooky”.
Privacy and safety issues are paramount with any social network but tools are now available to provide group administrators with a number of controls.
In class, turn on your cell phones: it’s time to text students use a service called Celly to “take quick polls and quizzes, filter messages, get news updates, take notes, and organize group study — all in real time.” Messages can be moderated or an administrator might choose to only send messages or “alerts” to group members and no phone numbers are shared.
Learning tool for all
Mobile phones for educational purposes are not limited to secondary school students as primary school teachers can demonstrate their use to, for example, take photos and video, record audio for podcasts, access the Internet and transfer files.
In Txting to m-Learn Howick Social Science teacher Nathan Kerr found that geography students’ test results shot up as a result of allowing them to use mobile phones to integrate the learning process.
However, as MOE e-fellow Toni Twiss found in her research on using mobile phones to foster information literacy, “the ability to critique and use information that is such a crucial skill” was lacking.
This is an area where school libraries can play a big part in ensuring students acquire these skills. Read here to find out how.
Everything! International news is telling us via social media, television, newspapers and radio that there is huge unrest in Egypt at the moment. The Egyptian people have been receiving their news through all the usual channels and are now influenced by the unrest in Tunisia (also informed by social media), they have risen up to claim freedom and democracy in Egypt.
Information and news has been sent and received by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, this is probably the way most people were receiving news and gatherings, rallies, marches etc were being organised.
The authorities closed down the Internet. Google then created a way to post messages to Twitter by making telephones calls! Social media rules, and the news is still circulating.
Check these links:
Writing in the Weekend Herald January 29th, Robert Fisk of The Independent, UK, said, ‘This is a revolution by Twitter and Facebook, and technology long ago took away the dismal rules of censorship.’
In the same newspaper and on the same day, reporters working for the Reuters agency stated that a page on Facebook had listed more than 30 mosques and churches where protesters were expected to gather. “Egypt’s Muslims and Christians will go out to fight against the corruption, unemployment and oppression and absence of freedom,” the page said, adding more than 70,000 had signed up online.
As I write this blog news is being reported in the free press and online, of President Mubarak’s address to the Egyptians to say he will not stand for re-election next September.
What does this have to do with school libraries and learning? I quote from the Services to Schools Services online delivery channel: “First-hand accounts of historical events are called primary sources. The body of primary source material provides the clues that historians call the ‘historical record’”.
Students in schools today can use social media to obtain eyewitness accounts of the creation of historical events. Working almost in real time, social media provides the opportunity for authentic and rich learning experiences. Students will need to be able to distinguish relevant from irrelevant information and evaluate the primary source using critical thinking skills while creating the documents and repositories of knowledge that will become the historical records for the future.
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