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EDITOR'S NOTES: Mobility, Flexibility, and the Power of Access

By David Hoffman - Posted May 1, 2017
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When coming up with the theme for this May/June issue, we started with the question, “What’s are some cutting-edge classroom uses of mobile devices like cellphones, tablets, and notebooks?” After all, they empower students to get out of the classroom and into the world through technology, as well as to bring the world into the classroom. Powered with apps for communicating; gathering, crunching, and analyzing data; and tapped into the internet, handheld devices are facilitating new learning, and new ways of doing so, at every turn.

Curious, Victor Rivero took up the handheld challenge and broadened his search to include a wide array of mobile, flexible, connected, holdable devices beyond the powerful computing devices that our phones have become. He highlights quite a few of them in his Tools for Learning feature “Hands-On Handheld Tools” (page 4). He notes about his collection that “they are extensions of our hands and minds, and they do well to serve us in learning and experiencing the world around us. Some take us places, some help us inspect the places around us. All of them are useful in forwarding the aims of education: to bring us to new understandings about life. ...” As we said, curious!! Have a read!

And Carolyn Foote also took up the challenge in her Idea Watch column “Mobile Technology Goes Virtual: Using Virtual Reality in Education” (page 12). With things like Google Cardboard paired with a smartphone, VR is exceedingly flashy and powerful. But of course in a learning context, flashy doesn’t inevitably mean effective. So, drawing on some sessions she attended at SXSWedu, Carolyn covers the what, why, and how of effectively using the technology in classrooms and libraries. Her column is loaded with examples, resources, lessons learned, and more from the rich SXSW presentations as well as her own and her colleagues’ experiences.

David Hoffman, editor

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