Exploring Cellphones as Learning Tools

6 02 2008

Dean Shareski blogged a case study for the use of mobile phones in school teaching, with some good insights into the proportion of grade 8/9 children with cellphones at school, how they used their cellphones, and how learners without cellphones were considered.

Dean documented engagement, responsibility, and innovation/problem solving amongst the students; and also comments about the class teacher as a learner in this situation, and how it challenges educators and institutions to reflect on their own policy and practice when it comes to mobile devices in educational settings.

Group work

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Edublog$ Magazine: A Matter of Common Cents

1 02 2008

James Farmer launched the Edublogs Magazine earlier this week, featuring “news, information, interviews, highlights, and techniques from around the Edublogs Network and the world of education” – to a mixed reception. Several edubloggers thought this was a useful venture, but there were other commentators who saw this as “an obvious commercial move at the expense of egalitarianism in blogging“.

Frankly, like Graham Wegner, I don’t see what the fuss is about. The “magazine” has an unintrusive banner for James’ “Edublogs Campus” service for institutions, but I don’t see any other advertisements anywhere else. There’s no AdSense, there are no external banner ads, there are no flashing Flash advertisements exhorting us all to “Click here for a free iPod”. What in the world are you whinging about? And, frankly, SO WHAT if James wants to make some money from offering related edublogging services? He does it full time – don’t you think he might, perhaps, need money (like you and I)?

It seems like common sense to me. If James wants to make money from his area of expertise offering a related service to institutions, what’s wrong with that? Teachers make money from teaching, for goodness sake – are educators so egalitarian that they provide their professional services for free? I don’t think so… how many DOZENS of blog posts and media articles have I read now where teachers or union officials have sighed how undervalued and underpaid teachers are? And I’ve consistently agreed – I think teachers do incredible, valuable work that deserves far more recognition.

So I don’t see a difference between teachers deserving that recognition for the education services they provide their local communities, and James providing an education service for the global community. He deserves better treatment than demands he become more “transparent” or “egalitarian”.
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Edublogs is a free, world-class, supported blogging platform with tens of thousands of users. Despite the large user base, every request for blog support, maintenance, and improvement that I’ve sent to James over the last two years of edublogging has been attended to with a level of dedication I’ve NEVER experienced from the providers of my essential utilities – electricity, water, gas, or telephone connection. It doesn’t get much more “egalitarian” than that, folks, and surely a measure of gratitude and recognition is in order.

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