Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Linda M
As schools gradually increase adoption of laptops and mobile devices, it is timely to consider the implications for students to bring their own devices for classroom use. Christopher Harris’s article Going mobile: Key issues to consider for schools weighing BYOD discusses the pros and cons.
The immediately evident ‘pro’ of this is that the weight of hefty technology costs is shifted from ‘tight’ school budgets to the student: the ‘con’ of this, obviously, being inequity of access across the socio-economic spectrum. Harris asks some important questions:
He also points out that ‘teachers will also require training to help them develop and administer content across mobile platforms’.
Finally, Harris draws attention to Neil Postman’s essay: Five things we need to know about technological change (1998), which he uses to discuss the changes implicit in schools’ culture and ecology as we move towards increasing use of technology in general and BYOD in particular.
You may like also to follow the links through to wikiversity.org’s, which extrapolates from Postman’s essay to pose questions about the pros and cons of technology implementation in general.
You have probably seen them without realising it, a small black and white patchwork square in the corner of a movie poster or magazine advertisement. Designed for use with a mobile phone application, the QR code utilizes mobile phone tagging software to link your phone to the corresponding website, video, image etc. Once loaded on your phone the application works like taking a photo, you simply line up the pattern in the viewfinder and the QR software does the rest, linking your phone to the web address.
When you realise that all that is needed is to visually identify the design and ‘photograph’ it to link to online information, you can begin to imagine the applications this could have for libraries and library users of all ages and abilities.
QR codes were initially designed for use in manufacturing, transcending the need for foreign workers to understand the text or language on the machinery or packaging, a quick scan of the QR code, would link them via their mobile device to a relevant video or text that matched their needs and language.
Authors have already caught on to the marketing possibilities building the codes into their cover designs and posters, linking readers to their corresponding websites.
BookBuzzer a marketing blog for authors describes QR Codes as “The newest tool for book marketing.” It is little wonder then that Libraries are also seeing the possibilities. Library Success Wiki lists numerous University and Public Libraries utilizing the use of QR coding for anything from links to mobile phone compatible websites and chat to topic pathfinders for users browsing the book stacks.
What about school libraries? Dr Joyce Valenza, teacher-librarian and prolific education and technology writer has long been promoting QR Code use in school libraries. In her School Library Journal October 2010 article, Joyce lists many great ideas and information on ‘the simple process’ for the uninitiated school librarian.
A quick web search produced the following Blog entries:
Serious Fun Blog - QR Codes: Could you use them in your library?
Hyperlinked Librarian – Includes footage of pupils generating their own codes during a lesson.
Daring Librarian Blog – Includes a QR code tree containing codes for parents to scan.
The answer for some is a resounding YES!
How can we help your school library meet the challenge?
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.
Links have now been added to EPIC to enable schools to access the EBSCO mobile interface when accessing EPIC from mobile devices. All the EPIC resources can be accessed via mobile devices, however, EBSCO are the first to provide an interface specifically for mobile devices.
All you need to do is go to EPIC using a mobile device and login with your school username and password. You will find a link to the EBSCO mobile interface listed under EBSCO.
Alternatively, once you have logged in to EPIC, you can also click on the Databases link in the top left hand corner where there are direct links to the mobile versions of the two EBSCO databases available through EPIC - Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre and MasterFile Premier.
Once you have accessed either of the databases there are also instructions on how to download the free iPhone and iPod Touch applications.
And finally, just to remind you all about the wealth of information you can access through the ESBCO resources in EPIC (including most of the major daily New Zealand newspapers, Time Magazine, New Scientist, Library Journal, National Geographic, History Today and much, much more) – here are links to information sheets about both of the products – including coverage lists and promotional links:
EBSCO - Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre
EBSCO - MasterFile Premier
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