Sometimes the only way to make progress is to leave something behind.
The evolving mantra in modern education is that we should allow for exploration, discovery and off-the-cuff learning. Tablets are often touted as liberating devices that free students and teachers from the shackles of desktop computing.
Mobile apps in particular have helped spur the notion that technology can do anything when it comes to fostering interactive learning.
But why then don’t more schools allot teachers a mobile app budget to purchase these innovations for classrooms as they see fit?
This is the epiphany that Andrew Schwab, director of management information systems for the Berryessa Union School District in San Jose, Calif., recently came to after purchasing an app for his iOS device. He outlines his app stipend idea in a blog post on his Must-Read K-12 IT Blog, There Is No Box:
That’s why app discovery and evaluation to me is a perfect example of 21st Century Skills in action. The search for an app, the critical assessment of an app, the practical integration of an app into instruction and hopefully, the sharing out of that process through social media to pay it forward for the common good. To impede that process by trying to control it seems very 19th century to me.
So I’ve been thinking what we should be doing is giving every educator the opportunity (and expectation) to explore, experiment, fail, succeed and share with apps. The best way to do this is to eliminate the red tape and give everyone an app budget with permission to play. I propose just one requirement; that they share their app discovery with their peers throughout the year.
In an era where IT workers are already ceding the ground to educators and students by allowing them to bring their own devices, empowering educators and students further by granting them the freedom to explore the app universe makes perfect sense.
As research and pundits have crowed for years, frictionless user experiences make technology soar. So why not take this simple step—and open the doors to mobile learning nirvana?