Friday, June 17, 2011

Mobile Photos/Video in Mobile Learning

As Disrupting Class elaborates, students and adults learn in different ways. As individuals, our brains are wired in various ways that enable us to learn new information, analyze situations, and create new meaning. The way a person learns is as variable as the individuals themselves.

As an educator, I am in constant search of strategies that will support the way that my students learn. As a special educator working with students with hearing loss, I am also in constant search of various ways to present language rich lessons in new and refreshing ways.

Fast becoming one of the most basic tools of mobile devices, the camera and video provide an easy way to incorporate technology into lessons and provide a visual connection between the student and learning topic.

Let me briefly explain my teaching position first, before describing the way I use mobile photos/videos within my teaching. I work for a special education cooperative as a hearing itinerant teacher. I am a mobile teacher. I work directly with 14 students from K-12 in 3 different towns in 6 different schools. I do not have an office in the schools of which I work; having to be creative and fight for even a small corner in the cafeteria, library, or hallway. My “office” is basically my car; carrying my materials to each school. The less I have to carry, the lighter my bag is, the easier my job.

My smart phone has become an ideal device to capture teaching moments--becoming language books, vocabulary books, visual reminders, and a motivator for my students. Below are some pictures taken of a student who is learning the parts and care of his hearing aids. We were able to go through the steps of cleaning his hearing aids, taking pictures of each step. He was eager to get his picture taken, and even more excited to see himself in print when making the final product.

Having my phone on hand already (the best way to contact me, since I am rarely in my office) allows me to quickly and efficiently take pictures during lessons, then emailing or sending to print at Walgreens. Language lessons are enriched by giving students the opportunity to be the center of attention in front of the camera, practicing the concepts while taking pictures, then again when making the final product, and again (and again) when the student goes back to read through and revisit the past lesson. These activities allow my students to develop language-expressive/receptive, written/oral in a creative way.

In the future, I would like to move away from physical final products, like books, and create more digital projects. Creating even more opportunities for my students to learn 21st century skills.

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