Trends: Smart or dumb? Phone technology in the classroom

In my earlier post on trends and roles in adult learning, I reflected upon the effective use of technology to provide relevance for adult learner.

Cell phone use, and using cell phones for going online has continued to increase in the last five years. While cell phone ownership is highest amongst 18-29 year olds (85%), this group is closely followed by 30-49 year olds (73%). This growth makes cell phones one of the most widely available technologies; the accessibility of cell phones makes them important in terms of a potential tool in adult learning.

While society debates proper cellphone etiquette, instructors have struggled with other challenges related to cellphone and smart phone use in the classroom. Cellphones have a reputation for being disruptive, distracting, disrespectful, not to mention their role in plagiarism. But what about harnessing cellphone technology for adult learning? The Oxford University Press blog on adult English language instruction offers the flip-side to annoying cellphone-use in the classroom. .

It is estimated that there are more than 150,000 educational apps available for smartphones, many of which are free. As an instructor, I will be looking for ways to incorporate these types of accessible technologies into the menus of instructional strategies.


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