Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Project Uses Cell Phones as Computers in the Classroom

10.02.2009
Educational software for cell phones, a suite of tools developed at the University of Michigan, is being used to turn smart phones into personal computers for students in two Texas classrooms.

Their Mobile Learning Environment includes programs that let students map concepts, animate their drawings, surf relevant parts of the Internet and integrate their lessons and assignments.

It also includes mini versions of Microsoft Word and Excel. It is currently licensed through Soloway's company GoKnow! to 40,000 users around the world for larger palm-sized computers. Cell phones change the game, though.

The software developers are Elliot Soloway, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the School of Information, and the School of Education, and Cathleen Norris, a regents professor at the University of North Texas.

"This is the beginning of the future," Soloway said. "The future is mobile devices that are connected. They're going to be the new paper and pencil."

Cell phones can be powerful computers, Soloway says. They can do just about everything laptops can do for a fraction of the price. And many students are bringing them to school anyway.

Matt Cook, a fifth-grade teacher from Keller, Texas who started the pilot project, says the popularity of cell phones got him thinking about how to harness their power for teaching. About half of the students in his class had phones before the project started.

Cook was looking for an answer when he met Soloway at an education technology conference last year. He got Verizon Wireless involved to donate phone service. HTC Corp. is donating smart phones. Celio Corp. is donating screens for the phones. Microsoft is providing training.

The project equips 53 students in two fifth-grade classes at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School with a smart phone of their own to use around-the-clock for the rest of the school year. Students can't text message or make calls with them. But they can use the cameras, mp3 players, calendars, calculators and educational software. Cook handed out the phones in late January.

"The phones will be seamlessly integrated into my lessons," Cook said. "I think that right off the bat, this will add a level of student engagement. They'll be more interested in the lessons because we're talking in the students' language. Any time you can do that, you're a lot more likely to be heard."

He explained how the devices will change his lesson on physical and chemical weathering. He will take the students outside with sidewalk chalk and let them decorate the concrete. Normally, they would then go outside every day to watch the chalk fade over time. Now, students will take a photos of the sidewalk every day and use the Sketchy animation program to create a video of the fading process.

Soloway says this type of hands-on, reinforced learning is only possible when each student has his or her own device.

"People ask why every child needs a computer and why can't students just share," Soloway said. "Well, do you share pencils?"

The school district is examining several aspects of student learning with these devices. They'll determine whether listening to recordings of texts enhances at-risk students' reading comprehension. They are studying students' technological savvy before and after the project. The teachers involved will also teach responsible and appropriate use of these phones. Cook and school officials hope to expand the project next year.

For more information on Soloway, visit: http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/public/experts/ExpDisplay.php?ExpID=861

Cell-phone-based, hand-held computers for education at Keller Intermediate School District: http://www.kellerisd.net/kellerisd/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=600&Itemid=921

Michigan Engineering:
The University of Michigan College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At more than $130 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments and a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. The college plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility.

Nicole Casal Moore | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu
http://www.engin.umich.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Magnetic Quantum Objects in a "Nano Egg-Box"
25.07.2017 | Universität Wien

nachricht 3-D scanning with water
24.07.2017 | Association for Computing Machinery

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>