Over at the The Mobile Learner Rob De Lorenzo is addressing some myths or critiques surrounding Mobile learners in two post (here is the first and here the second).

It’s a very insightful and interesting post – here are some of the myths he’s addressing:

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Fact: Students bully other students with and or without a cell phone

A cell phone is a communication tool and students are using it to communicate.  By banning cell phone, we don’t stop the bullying nor do we stop the negative type of communication among students.  We just encourage them to continue their conversation is a less conspicuous way.

cheatingFact: Students cheat with and or without a cell phone

Students use their devices to find answers on their internet or to text answers to friends.  I don’t disagree that this occurs, but we need to find the underlying cause and the underlying cause is not the cell phone ….. Generally speaking, teaching models still revolve around information and students understand that in this environment, they need to show that they know the necessary information in order to get a good grade. As a result, they employ whatever means they can to demonstrate their understanding.  Some call that cheating.  I would call that being resourceful under the current models of teaching and learning.

current awarenessFact: Mobile devices offer access to the most recent information available

If we are concerned that students don’t know how to filter information on the Internet, why are we not teaching them how to filter it?  The Internet is the largest database of information the world has ever seen and contains the most up-to-date information…..What ever happened to teaching search skills that students used to be taught when it came to searching for information in a library?  Why don’t we do the same for the Internet?

MultiFact: Mobile Devices Are not the Only Things that Distract Students

If a student is in a classroom and is not engaged with the lesson, they will find other things to do to engage themselves.  This is not a new phenomena….Just because we believe that our lessons and the delivery of our lessons are engaging, it doesn’t mean they are engaging to our students.  So what do students do when they are not engaged? They do other things to engage themselves whether it’s the actions I mentioned above or use their mobile devices.  Mobile devices are so engaging in fact, that we should harness that engagement instead of trying to squash it.  … Begin designing lesson around the use of a mobile device using any of the ideas mentioned in this blog and watch to see whether or not your students are still using the devices inappropriately or behaving inappropriately.

iposFact: Mobile Devices can be used as Assistive Technology and Used to Differentiate Instruction

Why not allow students to use their iPod to listen to an audiobook or to use their cell phone to either access the web or to access their productivity tools? Devices that students bring with them everyday, with the right instruction and  direction, can be used as assistive technology to help differentiate instruction which ultimately saves the school and the system massive amounts of money that can be used to further outfit schools with more and updated technology.

Fact: Using Mobile Devices Prepares Students for the Real World business

….So if mobile communication is so important to a successful lawyer or business person, if a scientist’s work is based on technology tools and if mobile technology offers competitive workplace advantages, doesn’t it follow that we should be allowing students to use these devices while they learn and to develop the competitive advantages they need when they enter the ‘real world’?

Do yourself a favour and read the full posts by Rob – they really are worthwile!