When St. Marys City (Ohio) Schools saw the benefits of mobile learning devices (MLDs), we wanted to create a conference to share with fellow educators how mobile learning has had a positive impact on student learning, teaching and content lesson development. Thus, the Ohio Mobile Learning Technology Conference made its debut in the spring of 2009 with about 90 participants, mostly from Ohio.
It was the first mobile learning conference in the state of Ohio. We feel that mobile learning is powerful, and we are trying to spread the word about how it impacts student learning. We want other schools in our area to adopt mobile learning in the classroom so that we can create a consortium and share teaching strategies and lessons with other educators from surrounding districts.
This year’s conference on May 6 attracted more than 20 interested school districts. And thanks to sponsorships this year, there were no registration fees. The sponsors for the conference included St. Marys City Schools, Verizon Wireless, GoKnow Learning, and the Ford Motor Plant and Training Center. St. Marys City Schools paid the broadband charges for using the MLDs, Verizon Wireless paid for lunch for the attendees, Ford donated the Training Center free of charge, and GoKnow Learning provided speakers, Elliot Soloway and Cathleen Norris.
Last year, we provided smartphones to teachers, and Juli Harrison of GoKnow Learning conducted a hands-on demonstration. We also brought eight students in grades 3-5 to provide technical support for the audience. Much of the feedback that we received was directed toward our student helpers, who were the hit of the conference. We had a session where the audience could ask questions of the students and teachers on the effectiveness of the devices and how they use them in the classroom. The audience was very impressed by the students’ answers and what they were able to accomplish in a short time using the devices.
For more information, go to www.smriders.net/Mobile_Learning.
Scott Newcomb is a fourth-grade teacher, and Kyle Menchhofer is the technology coordinator at St. Marys Schools.