Eric Marcos (@mathtrain) and Scott McLeod (@bigthink) are talking here about giving students more face time with their devices.
I couldn’t agree more.
Last year I ran a 3:1 program at Think Global School. That’s right: an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro for every student. Students were required to have their iPhones with them at all times. We’d set up a couple wireless in our new dorms (TGS is a traveling school) log in and that was it. The web is the network. It is a lightweight, mobile and exceptionally powerful setup requiring almost no maintenance.
The irony, I found, is that more technology is less disruptive than less technology. Sure, found my students went gaga over all their new toys when we first handed them out. But I let them play more or less unrestrained for a couple weeks and the excitement wore off quickly and everyone got down to business. By third term, I wasn’t even telling my kids want to bring to class: all I’d say was be prepared to do some writing today and they would come with whatever they felt most comfortable with–MBP, iPad or even pen and paper.
After a year of running a maxed-out tech program I can find no sound pedagogical, social or practical reason for restricting the use of tech devices. Telling students what devices they can use and when is like telling them what brand of pencil they can use and when.