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Creating a Digital Team Using Mobile Technology

imageI attended an information session at the University of Georgia last Friday.  The usual pitch included all the great and notable things about the University and why students should consider attending the top rated school.  The academic standouts and social opportunities were expected parts of the presentation.  The unexpected came next.  Among other things, one of the “highlights” they mentioned was the use of mobile technology within the classroom.

The recruiter proudly told the story of a particular science professor who wanted to “connect” with his students.  His strategy?  Use the learning tool that each student had already brought to class – their cell phone.  The professor trained both his teaching assistant and the students to be a “digital team.”  At any time during the lecture, if a student had a question or comment, they would text it to the TA.

When enough queries come in, the assistant would then stop the professor mid-lecture and share the feedback from the students so that the professor can adapt his instruction to review content, offer a different explanation or move forward in concert with the learning curve of the class.

It struck me – wouldn’t it be great if our high school students were afforded the same luxury in learning? One quick look around the room at the forty 17-20 year olds told me that texting questions was not going to be a problem.  Getting that technique into a classroom could be.  Luckily, we are taking proactive steps to allow these forms of digital integration into K-12 classrooms.

The Digital Learning Council has been meeting to draft policies that will guide the development and implementation of digital resources to every student.  The conversation has been focused on adaptive curriculum, but as we see in the Georgia example, digital technology can also be used to adapt the instruction, thereby creating a true, dynamic and engaging “blended model” of instruction. Soon we’ll see most lectures replaced or augmented by short-form video.  Student will watch when and where convenient.

Go Bulldogs! – Thanks for the example and the encouragement to keep pushing this important initiative forward.

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