If you didn’t believe that mobile phones could be useful tools for students to access information, just look at the amount of press that the use of mobile phones to cheat in exams gets.
But I think the behaviour warrants closer analysis. I wonder if the same mobile, digital techniques that students use to cheat in the exam room could easily be converted into constructive formal and informal methods of learning delivery outside of it. Techniques such as SMS-ing a peer, storing cheat notes in phone memory – and other ingenious methods that educators have surely not yet discovered – are surely a form of just-in-time, just enough, where and when it’s needed ways to store and recover information.
Which might be exactly what we, as educators, would like our students to be able to do – though usually, well before they get to the doors of the exam room…
Part of the reason I mention the possibility of links between ways that students record information for themselves, and methods for teaching and learning, is that some ten years ago, when I was studying Law and Computer Science at ANU, I learned HTML, and applied its use to the creation of hyperlinked notes for my legal subjects. While this was well before I had any understanding of educational design or pedagogy, it was still, at the time, a groundbreaking way to bring notes into the (open book) law exams – almost without exception, every one of my peers in law school still used the old reams-of-paper-with-coloured-sticky-tabs method, or at best, a Microsoft Word document on their laptop. Today, the idea of hyperlinked notes is probably much more commonplace, even in very traditional subjects like Law. 🙂
So: how are students, savvy with mobile technology, using mobile devices to help themselves with their learning in the present day?