Mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, smartwatches) might not have been around when you grew up, but they are going to be on the educational scene from now until… forever. And on balance, this is going to be a good thing.
- Only do what is reasonably accessible to all your students. The activity must reduce the “digital divide” (by which less privileged kids get less access), not increase it. If it fails this test, don’t do it.
- Make it project-based. Learning through projects that require problem-solving sticks far better than rote learning, and digital media can excel at this.
- Make it game-based. A good game requires experimentation, and delivers stages of advancement and reward that propel the learner forward.
- Test it out. You need to avoid technical hindrances that could derail an otherwise great project.
- Go with what’s proven, and with what works for you. Rely on what’s been tried and well-reviewed; and if you have a different reaction, move on to something else.
- Make the kids figure it out. They are your best resource for finding ways to keep the project moving forward – they are natives, after all; they enjoy the challenge; and they learn from it.
- Go with easy. If something isn’t working, reach for the alternative. Better yet, rely on your kids to do that.
- Make the kids help each other. Collaboration should be built into the assignment. And more advanced students should get credit for helping others who need guidance.
- Make it measurable. There should be good ways to assess what’s been learned.