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PDA and phone cameras in the classroom

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Author Topic: PDA and phone cameras in the classroom  (Read 6335 times)
jont
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« on: March 22, 2006, 09:52:50 AM »

The Zire 72 had a good feature set, (apart from the paint peeling off :-) ), it had its problems (bugs in the security settings etc) But I used one for ages.

A problem now is that the manufacturers lack imagination... No current Palm PDA has a camera.
::sigh::

Jon
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Graham
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2006, 10:23:09 AM »

I agree it's nice to have a camera built into a handheld computer but the case is that some schools and learning establishments are happy with camera's and other's aren't - although personally I believe that providing the knowledge of appropriate times to take photo's is a social issue to be learnt early, as is for example audio recording etc (surveillance should be able to work in both directions however!) and not something that should be banned.

Many students do have mobile phones however and because of the economies of scale most of these phones feature very good camera's with Sony Ericsson bringing a 5MP version later this year. Sony-Ericsson, as an example and as I posted somewhere on a different thread, manufacturer and sell more digital cameras than Kodak and the most other "major" camera manufacturers. Most of these phones typically have Bluetooth and/or IR.

Consequently it's not too much of a problem for students to use their phone as a picture/video capture device to transfer images, .mp4 videos and .mp3 and .wav audio to their handheld.

Of course, this does suppose that the mobile phone hasn't been banned in the establishment Wink

An alternative, in the case of no phone, is to get one of those cool and inexpensive video camera's that shoot stills and .mp4 video to SD cards and then just use the SD card in the handheld.

Yes, it'll be two small devices rather than one but given that it's unlikely that schools, in particular, will be handing out cellular phones (who pays for the phone bill?) and because of the lack of mobile phone standardisation in general (there are at least 72 flavours) it's sure to be the case that students will have both devices in their bag anyway.
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Mark van 't Hooft
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2006, 02:17:29 PM »

Graham,
All good points. An important question related to this remains though: How will school policies on one hand and convergence in mobile tools (i.e. many tools in one, kind of like a digital Swiss Army knife) affect the use (or non-use) of these types of mobile tools? For a while, it seems like all we were talking about was convergence of tools into small devices for education. I've gotten to a point now where I'm not so sure anymore, and this was especially brought on by Palm discontinuing the Zire 72 without a comparable replacement.

Mark
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Mark van 't Hooft
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Jocelyn
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2006, 10:51:20 AM »

We are getting to the point where schools cannot continue to simply ban mobile phones (with and without cameras) and instant messaging software. Many PDAs have fantastic potential as learning devices that is enhanced through use of camera to personalise and authenticate learning and set it in context.

Also parents tend to rely on schools to cover issues such as e- safety and being a good e-citizen and allow their children to use the hardware without direct supervision. I agree with Graham that responsible use of the technology needs to be taught - therefore the technology should be in the schools
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Mark van 't Hooft
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2006, 03:12:52 PM »

Well said Jocelyn,
I agree that we should be teaching kids how to use technology appropriately and ethically (and they would still be able to use technology the way they want to). In the U.S., this is included in many state teaching and learning standards, as well as the ISTE standards.
We all know that schools are always slow to change and often even resist change. However, like you said, schools cannot afford to ban technology much longer, if we expect kids to come to school motivated to learn. Too many of them are turned off by school because what they do there is so far removed from the world outside of it. Even people like Bill Gates have said that schools are getting obsolete (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/MediaCenter/Speeches/BillgSpeeches/BGSpeechNGA-050226.htm), and I have to say from what I see in schools in the States, I have to agree with him for the most part.

Mark
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Mark van 't Hooft
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swalthes
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2006, 03:58:11 AM »

It is not schools in the case of Illinois that have banned cell phones (with or without cameras) from K-12 public schools.  We have a state law which forbids them.  We will also need to see change at the legislative level in order for there to be a resolution.
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S. A. Walthes
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Mark van 't Hooft
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2006, 08:09:41 PM »

Wow, really? What's the reasoning behind the law? I'm assuming there are more states that have similar laws.

Mark
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Mark van 't Hooft
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swalthes
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2006, 03:55:35 AM »

Mark, I won't presume to guess why this law was passed (or why a lot of things are done in my state regarding education  Angry  .)  As I recall it was done in the mid/late-90's prior to the advent of cameras in phones (or pdas).  I think the law actually banned phones and pagers.  I actually should have been more clear below.  Most schools have rules banning them, but the law backs those rules.  One of the major problems we see are pictures being taken in lockerrooms and bathrooms and then sent to classmates, posted on webpages, etc.  Those incidents actually fall under the ban as well as the bullying policy.  The problem, as it has been for much of technology in schools, is that most people in schools do not understand the application of the technology or fear its use.  In these cases, they find banning is far simpler than learning, teaching, and policing problems if they occur.
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S. A. Walthes
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Mark van 't Hooft
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2006, 04:32:58 PM »

That makes more sense,
I remember the banning of pagers in the 1990s when I was a classroom teachers. It was mostly done to keep drug dealing out of schools (this was in Austin, TX, and I assume in a lot of other large cities in the US). The problem of locker room pictures is also a very well known issue.

You bring up another good point regarding banning technology because of fear of what it will do in schools (like cell phones with cameras, and more recently the whole MySpace debate). This is why it is so important that we don't focus on the technology, but we put our efforts into TEACHING kids and adults in schools alike the proper, ethical, meaningful etc. ways to use technology for teaching and learning. As I've said in other posts, many state and national standards include this (maybe not enough, but they do).

Mark
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Mark van 't Hooft
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Petra
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2006, 10:28:32 PM »

This is why it is so important that we don't focus on the technology, but we put our efforts into TEACHING kids and adults in schools alike the proper, ethical, meaningful etc. ways to use technology for teaching and learning.
Mark
I can only agree with your statements pointing out the importance of teaching how to integrate technology in a meaningful way.
We in Austria more or less tolerate phones at schools but there is a great debate going on in Germany of banning mobile technology, especially phones with camera and the capability of watching videos. Some "naughty" boys did not only download inappropriate material from the internet and distributed it in schools, but they filmed video clips of brawls which were shared.
I wonder if the discussion will doze off after some time.
Petra
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Mark van 't Hooft
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2006, 02:11:26 PM »

Yes,
Also, this whole thread reminds me of a funny story about Elliot Soloway's son, whose school banned the use of handhelds a few years ago. Pretty ironic ....  Cheesy
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Mark van 't Hooft
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sharplem
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2006, 09:52:46 AM »

Every new personal technology has been banned from the classroom. I'm old enough to remember the ban on ballpoint pens, and of course pocket calculators were initially forbidden on the grounds that children wouldn't learn to do mental arithmetic. Each of these technologies have been introduced, and managed, without causing chaos to the school system. But I think that future converged handheld devices are of a new order - they don't just allow children to do the same learning more easily, but to bring their world of informal online learning into the classroom. The skills that children are learning at home - social networking, gaming, file sharing, multitasking - just don't fit easily into conventional classroom teaching. So I'd suggest that it's not the devices temselves that will be disruptive in the long term (schools can find ways of managing inappropriate use of cameras, just as they can find ways of managing bullying), but the new patterns of personal and informal networked learning that they afford.

Mike
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swalthes
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2006, 03:21:47 PM »

Inappropriate use of cameras and bullying are pieces of a larger societal problem (as Graham said below).  It is not entirely the place of public schools to be dealing with these issues.  Tons of accountability is expected from our schools, but the parents, and the government (in terms of funding) are getting by doing little to nothing.  To further complicate the job of the schools, parents show up with the lawyer and lawsuit in hand if they try to ban the device AND if it is used inappropriately.  A NO WIN situation!

I know the companies want to pack every type of gadget into a handheld or phone (or combine them) but there are still devices out there w/o cameras built in.  As long as the phone were not be used during class or disrupting the educational process or the PDA was being used as a learning tool, schools should be able to have policies that allow their presence.
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S. A. Walthes
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gerry.gray
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2006, 04:58:23 PM »

In my school phones are banned, if we see a student with their phone it is taken from them and put in the school office where a parent has to collect it.  In my previous school if we were doing a cool experiment in the lab the pupils would get out their phones and video it, later uploading it to their comoputers and emailing it to me so I could put it on our website.  Now I use a webcam to take pictures and video in the lesson - it has poor quality images really, but we only want them as a reminder of the lesson and their learning, often the pictures or video is the plenary and they can then be deleted or archived.  I would love to see phones and other devices used in education but if they are banned there are ways to still use the technology.
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AST in Science
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gevpaul
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2006, 05:46:26 PM »

It is intersting reading this thread. I lecture to a lot of PGCE / ITE students (about 500 each year) and when I evangelise (that's the only word!) about the use of handheld and mobile technology and how we should be encouraging the educational use of the wonderful packet of technology that is mislabed a mobile 'phone' that the majority of our students carry there is an interesting mixed reaction from the 21-50 year old in the ITE classroom. Some are excited and see having a 1-1 ratio of useful devices as a positive thing others worry about the disruptive element. For me the real challenge of devices in the class is to the model of 30-1-1-60, that 30 students with one teacher in one room for 60 minutes that is still the cornorstone of educative practice in the UK secondary system. My hope is that portable and mobile technologies may lead to portable and mobile learning.

Returning to another thread above, like many I wonder about the best combinations of the technology and I can see a wi-fi enable PDA and a camera / video phone as a fine pairing. A wi-fied PDA coming in at about 1/2 of the price of a camera enabled PDA (or the EDA which was demoed at the conference). As was mentioned above you can transfer without too much hassle video and stills from other devices (such as mobile phones) to the PDA.
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Paul Hopkins
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