Of all of the developments throughout history, the Internet-enabled mobile device has had the greatest opportunity for impact on the educational system. At one time information was in libraries or in schools in the form of books or in the minds of teachers. Students went to libraries or schools to learn new information.
Now the world’s information is everywhere in everyone’s pocket. I remember in high school math class the teacher would not let us use a calculator. For some mysterious reason we were allowed to use a slide rule. (Shows you how old I am). “You’re not going to carry a calculator with you wherever you go”, was the comment we got from our math teacher.
Not only do I have a calculator with me at all times, it can convert units of currency and measurement, point me to North, level a table, organize me, replace my camera, help me when I am lost, tell me the time, record my voice, let me practice a musical instrument, paint or draw a picture, play my entire library of music, create a video, show video, give me my news, store my reading library, and teach me anything I want to know.
If a student had access to all the information the Internet contains in their pocket, and a tool that could do all of the above and more, how would teaching be different? In some cases we have brush-fires of innovative teachers exploring different approaches to teaching. We need to fan the flames of these brush-fires and help them to grow into full blown wildfires.