Promoting Innovation with Mobile Devices
Many schools have discovered that one of the best edtech tools that money can buy is already in their students’ pockets: their mobile devices. Schools can promote innovation with mobile devices using these simple tools and ideas:
First, an app such as Socrative can function as a virtual “clicker.” It makes it simple for teachers to conduct formative assessments. Using Socrative to assess student knowledge before a lesson begins frees teachers to focus on precisely what the class needs to know and permits more time to be spent on innovative learning—as opposed to rehashing material that students already know. Students can also be encouraged to use Socrative to formulate their questions for their classmates to answer, thus expanding its innovative uses.
Google’s Arts and Culture tools contains a plethora of fine art and other beautiful material. Whether a teacher selects a work of art to use as a dialogue prompt in an elementary school Language Arts classroom or a high school physics teacher has students explore the artwork with an eye to light and color usage, the possible uses of this tool are nearly infinite. This tool is a great way to ensure that the current emphasis on STEM learning does not crowd out the exposure to great art that can promote student creativity.
Padlet allows teachers and students to collaborate easily—it is, in effect, a giant virtual bulletin board. A teacher might, for example, put six discussion questions on Padlet and invite students to comment on all of them and respond to each other. Or, students might be asked to use their devices to research a topic and post links to their findings on a class Padlet board. Because Padlet is so flexible, it can encourage innovation by meeting a variety of student and teacher needs.
A platform such as PenPal Schools allows teachers to work with another class anywhere in the world on a joint project. Students could count and identify insects and then compare their findings with those of a class in South America, or perhaps students could swap poems with a class in England. Students can use their devices to engage in collaborative, project-based learning with real-world implications.
Mind-mapping software such as Coggle encourages collaboration and creativity. And the best part is that it is straightforward to use. While there are ample features, students can begin by knowing only two commands. With this extremely minimal opportunity cost, Coggle can help students brainstorm, collect research, organize ideas, and make presentations.