petak, 14. prosinca 2012.

Using Smartphones in classroom - workshop

In this post i will share my recent experience with using Smartphones in literature class, but i am sure that one could use this approach in many other subjects, especially in humanities. First thing you have to make sure is that everyone in class have their phones with them, or students can do it in pairs/groups, depending on class size.

First of all, list of tasks to do.

1. Take your phone and play your favourite song using earphones.
After you have listened to entire song, write one concept which will describe this song (or your feelings toward the song).
Write down which topic does the song have and what would be the main idea behind that song (topic and idea could be written in more than one word, but they have to be different than concept).

2. Write one SMS poem. Poem must be 140/160 characters long, you can use lenght of only one SMS.

3. Write a short story which will fit in 5 text messages.

4. In group, write one short SMS story, also fitting in only 5 text messages, writing it in a way that each group member writes one sentence.
- write a concept for your poem, concept for individual story and concept for group short story.

5. Take your phone and take a photo of anything around you that most resembles with one of your concepts (which concept you prefer).

6. Take your phone and take two photos of yourself, one with a happy face, and the other with a sad face.
Answer: Which face does suite more to your concept, happy or sad?

7. Go on Google and type in your chosen concept. Which link appears first in Google search, both in pages and in pictures. Write it down (in notebook).

8. Take your phone and play your favourite game. After you've played, write one concept which describes that game (or your feelings toward the game).

9. Go to Facebook and write your concept as Facebook status. Also, write your SMS poem as another status.

This workshop which uses Smartphones (tablets) as main tool for learning isnt complete. It is something im still working on, but i had a chance to test it in class and i can say that the students liked it. It took me more than one hour to finish the workshop and i used 15 minutes for student evaluation. Students said that they liked it, it was fun for them, but they complained with the purpose of it all - they wanted to know why they have done it.
Of course, in literature class seems obvious for them to engage in creative thinking process. That is why they needed to write a poem and short stories. As i teach in economics oriented school, students dont have a lot of chance to experience much art, that is why i had to use photography and gaming experience to show them in which way they can express themselves, other than literature. I asked myself, what do students use their phones for. They use it for messages, taking photos, listening to music, playing games, surfing the web - so this workshop covers it all.
Now, as for making concepts in almost every task, this idea comes from my background in philosophy and my experience in international summer seminar in practicing philosophy (i wrote about that in one of previous posts) - main idea behind concept oriented classroom is to make students think in simpler terms - and this is perfect use of short message services on mobile phones, to make them write such a short poem, short story, not to overthink things, not to complicate, but to express their thoughts simply and for others to understand. The most fun part for them was when they saw their friends liking their Facebook statuses where they put written poem and concepts - this was something i couldnt preddict that turned out pretty well.
To conclude, and as i said, this workshop can be altered in any way that suits you, your students, your subject; you should know it best. For any suggestions or criticism, you can comment on this post, i would appreciate it. Also, i will update this workshop later on, as i complete it.

Zoran Kojcic

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