Mobile Devices as Creative Tools

Mobile LearningWe are fortunate in Lufkin ISD to have a BYOT program, which enables kids to bring their devices to class for learning. As teachers, we’re often trying to find ways for kids to use technology but we rarely see that cell phones can be used beyond traditional assessment tools and instead used to create everything from videos to blog posts, collages, music, story summaries, math explanations, science captures, historical narratives…etc. The reality is that many kids are already creating to share via social media. It’s time that we learned to use such creativity in the classroom.

Below are a few tips for how to use cell phones for media creation in the classroom.

  • Depending on age, don’t assign the app. Assign the task. Suggestions are welcome. Typically, the thought is that the teacher must assign the application to be used. With younger kids still learning about creativity, this may be the case until they are more comfortable. Older kids, however, usually have creation tools of choice. If their assignment is to make a video about some topic…say that. Tell them that they can use their mobile device and any app. You can even create a space for kids to share their favorite apps for others. This can be done by writing the name of the app on the class whiteboard or if you’re really feeling crafty, make QR codes that lead to that app. What you do not do is say…Use __________ to make a video because that’s not creativity. That’s a recipe.
  • Have alternatives for kids without devices. Consider treating your creative assignment as a “creative workshop”. Poll your kids to see who has a device or tablet with the ability to create. Those that have a device should be empowered to use it. Those that do not, can either borrow a school device or learn to use what the school has available. The bottom line is to provide choice…even to those with devices. Some of them will actually choose to create on the computer and that is perfectly fine as well. Also, windows movie maker isn’t the only choice for online creation. There are tons of web tools that kids can use as well. It’s important that those be options too.
  • Use the support of experts to help you. Between myself and our two digital learning specialist, we can definitely help with creating an environment that supports creativity. You can also connect with teachers from around the country via twitter who are doing this work. Thankfully, you are not alone as when you choose to initiate your lesson, we will help every step of the way…including supporting you and your students during class.
  • Collaborate! Collaborate! Collaborate! Does every kid need to create their own artifact or is it something that can be done through collaboration? Maybe they still create their own but with the support of a team. Giving kids the space to share and teach each other is not only a best practice but challenges them to sustain a network of support as they learn to go mobile.

Below are some resources to get you started!
Katy ISD’s Mobile Learning Initiative (In case you need inspiration)

Kathy Schrock’s Guide on Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling Apps for Mobile Devices

5 Apps for Making Movies on Mobile Devices

Mobile Learning Resource Roundup

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