Monday, 5 October 2009

Handheld Learning 2009 Day 1 - "The Learners Y Factor"

'The Learners Y Factor' competition saw real students from real classrooms presenting and telling us about the innovative use of ICT that they were involved with.

Students from 6 Primary and Junior schools presented what they had been doing. Various devices were deployed; Nintendo DS, iPod Touch, HTC Smartphones and PSPs. The students were all able to demonstrate how these technologies had motivated them and their peers and assisted with their work. Of the devices used, most of the children identified Nintendo DS as being their favourites. I wonder if this is mainly because this is also the device that they used the most at home in their own time, or if the reasons are deeper than this.

To me the main advantage of the devices as demonstrated over laptops were their ability to be picked up and used quickly and easily, any time, anywhere. However I do not see mobile devices as an alternative to having 'proper' computer and internet access - rather an added extra.

The use of mobile devices demonstrated in these sessions was all very interesting and the children did incredibly well presenting with great confidence to a packed room. However, nothing I saw set my world on fire. The most thought provoking moment of the day came courtesy of a student at the winning school - Normanby Primary. She said that a reason that mobile devices were useful is that "not everyone lives in the same house every night" and that smartphones were easy to take wherever they went. This comment raises important issues for consideration as we move forwards with home access programmes.

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