Monday, June 29, 2009

The Missing Link...Preparing Teachers to Integrate SmartPhones Effectively

Wake Forest University presenters shared their pilot program of using SmartPhones with pre-service teachers within their classrooms. They explored whether the hardware and software tools were appropriate for formative assessment data collection and whether the teacher candidates recognized the value of the tools. Teachers used the handheld portable SmartPhones to capture video footage, take photographs, email parents, and record formative assessment information.

Until recently, I haven’t given much thought to the use of SmartPhones in the elementary classroom, however sitting in this session got me wondering about the possibilities. At CCE, I think we use our own cameras and flip videos for many of the functions they mentioned, but one avenue we haven't ventured down is the recording of formative assessment data electronically, on the spot in real time, archiving it for reflection. So, I immediately thought, how could we start using this to assist teachers without adding more to their plate, and to fill a void that we may have?

Here's what I'm thinking--I don't know many teachers who feel good about keeping anecdotal notes when they meet with their kids in either small groups or individually. It seems that each year they try something new because they just don't feel that they've gotten it right or keep up with it like they should. They want to do it, but fall short of their own expectations. So, I'm wondering if a teacher created a spreadsheet beamed it to their SmartPhone and then used the handheld device to record their anecdotal notes while the conferring was happening if they might find it easier to keep up with. The benefit would be that it synchronizes to the computer automatically so the teacher could access the information at anytime and anywhere, it makes recording neater and more manageable to retrieve, and it gives the teacher the opportunity to sort and report information if it is kept in an EXCEL spreadsheet. The pre-service teachers from Wake Forest shared some of their work in this arena with spreadsheets and I think it is definitely a possibility. Of course if we want to make it a logical goal, we'll have to call on Melanie. Are there any takers?


dayle timmons said...

This might be a dumb question, but since cell phones generally don't work in our building, could you use the phone for this purpose?

Suzanne said...

They actually do work in our building (other than in our office). So, I think this may be a great tool. Are you a taker?

Melissa Ross said...

I think it sounds like a great idea. You know me - the less paper the better! I'll just have to make sure to have a battery charger for my phone at work now.