(#139) Using Technology with a Purpose

There are 257 million mobile subscribers in the United States.
Of that number, about 128 million are smart phone users.
Think of the possibilities!

Two things happened in class this week that reaffirmed the potential for the smart use of smart phones

First, one of my students came to my campus office early Thursday morning.  He told me that even though he would purchase his textbook after class that day, he did have the homework for the day. He then told me that he had “snapped” the assignment from a classmate.

Snapped the assignment?  Huh?

Image: posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: posterize/

What he did was to take a photo (a snapshot for us oldsters) of the textbook exercise using his smart phone.  Rather than make the over-used excuse of “I don’t have a book yet” he was proactive with his technology and completed his work. Obviously, this is NOT an advisable strategy on a few levels (copying copyrighted material; nothing takes the place of one’s own book to use). But, I had to smile at this student’s resourcefulness for this one-time action.

The second instance of using technology for a purpose in the classroom happened later in one of my history classes.  The students had worked in groups that morning analyzing primary source documents from the early U.S. colonial period.  As they shared their conclusions with the class, I wrote their key terms and findings on the board. When we were done, I took out my smart phone and told the students I wanted to preserve their great work for the day. I then took a photo of my notes on the classroom board and suggested they might want to do the same. What a great way, I suggested, to augment their class notes.  Immediately, about five or six students did the same. It could well have been an ah-ha moment for those students; a way to use technology in their classes to help them improve note-taking and collect material for their portfolios. See photo below of one section of those board notes.

2013-01-17 12.17.05

By themselves, these two examples are not earth moving.  They do show, though, what we can do with these little hand-held computers more and more of us have in our pockets.

One report (Pew And Nielsen Say Smartphones Now 50 Percent, When Will ComScore Join The Club?) estimates that there are 257 million mobile subscribers in the United States. Of that number, about 128 million are smart phone users.

At times, it can be easy—almost cliché—to badmouth social media and technology.  Anecdotes and reports abound about behavior ranging from inappropriate to ridiculous. We all have a story or two (or more) to share about boorish behavior enhanced by social media.

Video recommendation for the week:

And perhaps this video parody has a few kernels of truth to it. But think of the possibilities we have not even explored yet with technology in the classroom!

Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

My first 2013 webinar, Priority Management: Do the Right Stuff at the Right Time, is scheduled for January 23, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. Click here  for registration information. Check my website for information on future PDQ Webinars. 

 Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You can also follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli).  Also, if you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Make it a wonderful week!

©2013. Steve Piscitelli.

About stevepiscitelli

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7 Responses to (#139) Using Technology with a Purpose

  1. Jcoby Thompson says:

    I can agree with this blog because this is why they do not allow electronics during the fcat. Its very sad that a person would cheat with their phone it defeats the purpose of learning


  2. Elliott W. says:

    Some day, technology will definitely overtake traditional learning. It’s already begun with a large amount of online-based classes/schools, and I think that more and more classes will completely embrace technology: encouraging its use via note taking and the like is very good. Naturally, there are many cases in traditional classes where technology isn’t and shouldn’t be allowed, such as using cell phones during class, but they can still be effective learners and note takers. With the vast amount of information on the internet, and more teachers and students fully embracing it (outside of just texting) it can and will change the world.


  3. Pingback: (#188) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2013 in Review | Steve Piscitelli's Blog

  4. Kay says:

    I agree with one of the comments above .It’s everywhere. Technology that is, but Technology definitely has a powerful meaning to teenagers nowadays. I mean we use technology for just about everything. which isn’t a good thing. sometimes its hard to take our focus off of our electronic devices. I believe The world will be depending on technology for just about everything.


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