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Peter Horner


Southampton, United Kingdom

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Our students have grown up surrounded by technology, and mobile devices are an important part of their lives. They invest time, effort, and money in choosing and customising their mobile device, which to an extent becomes part of their identity. Mobile device ownership at Barton Peveril is high, with 5,000 student mobile devices connected to campus WiFi everyday. These devices contain more processing power than many of the college's legacy desktop computers and they offer a huge potential for learning. In classrooms, many teachers find managing mobile devices difficult. It’s a never ending struggle keeping learners engaged and off their device. This has resulted in a college policy requiring students to hand their mobile device in at the start of lessons. Learners must then use a college provided device, which is challenging as there are not enough for all learners. Learning is a lifelong and personal experience, and mobile devices are always with us wherever we go. They allow students to communicate, explore interests, discuss content, and create new meaning and understanding, how and when they want to. In lessons, mobile devices can be used for collaborative activities, gamification of tasks, creating content, and checks on understanding to give teachers an overview of where support is needed. Despite these advantages, the negative effects of mobile devices are often talked about, instead of the positive impact these devices could have. With distance learning and blended learning now a reality for many schools and colleges, is it still possible to free students from all digital distractions? Or can mobile devices be harnessed to support learning anytime, anyplace, and in different contexts? I believe now is the time to explore how we might show students how to unlock the potential of their mobile device to maximise their learning opportunities.

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