Using mobile devices to create teaching resources
I’ve always been an advocate of using online tools in education. I’ve adopted many technologies over the years and some have eventually fallen by the wayside; services such as SchoolShape, FirstClass and Studywiz no longer appear on my radar but services designed for the wider (non-school) web are my main weapons of choice. SoundCloud, Blogger, YouTube and Aviary are just a few of my favourites for creating resources. With the rise of mobile technology, such as smartphones and tablets, it’s getting easier and easier to create these resources when the inspiration comes – I’m even writing this on my iPhone where there’s not a conventional computer in sight. I’ve always heard of people lamenting that this means we’re always working and that this ‘freedom to work anywhere’ results in an expectation for us to work everywhere. This isn’t exclusive to smartphones and tablets, the same was true when it became the norm for teachers to be given a work laptop.
The question that I’ve found myself asking today has been more ‘is it ever inappropriate to create school resources’? I’ve heard stories of teachers being disciplined because they responded to a pupil’s email during the weekend. This would be a problem for me, today is the first Monday of the Christmas holidays and I’ve already replied to two pupils’ emails that were asking for advice – both times using my phone. It’s even been known for me to jot out a quick email and/or blog entry to pupils who have emailed me to ask questions about homework when I’ve been out socialising (with or without other teachers). I’m not interested in arguments about the impact on my time (it honestly doesn’t bother me in the slightest) but I do wonder if this ability to instantly give pupils feedback is ever a concern in itself. All messages go through the school email system, so it’s all traceable and I never say anything that I wouldn’t be confident saying in the classroom – it’s all about work. Is this the height of professional commitment or is it allowing school to cross personal boundaries?
The same is true of resources, if I create a Keynote presentation on my iPhone on the topic of texture and timbre when I’m in the pub waiting for a friend to finish his cigarette outside, then is this maximising my productivity or is it inappropriate in some way?
The truth is that I honestly believe I’m doing the right thing when I use mobile technology to create resources. I love teaching, I love creating resources, I love gadgets and it hardly feels like working so where’s the problem? If I can use a bit of dead time in any situation to get some resources created then that’s more time that I can spend helping pupils when I’m at school. I would, however, love to hear the opinions of other people. Do you use mobile technology? Do you create resources in places that you wouldn’t associate with working? Feel free to comment below.