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 Snake-inspired robot uses kirigami to move
22.02.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht Camera technology in vehicles: Low-latency image data compression
22.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>