Ever tell a student to put their phone away in your class? If you teach elementary, that may be rare occurrence. Junior high…every so often. High School…EVERY SINGLE DAY! Getting students to break the habit of getting their face out of their smartphone, or tablet, is a real chore. So why fight it? Instead, embrace it.
Spending more time on mobile applications like Facebook, is now becoming the norm for our students (and adults). The accessibility and efficiency of mobile apps has taught today’s generation of students to rely on their smartphones and tablets to educate themselves.
Here are some numbers to think about…(according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
19: the daily number of minutes the average person spends exercising or playing sports
35: the daily number of minutes the average person spends preparing food
50: the number of minutes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the average person spends on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. That’s equivalent to nearly 13 days per year! On just these apps!
Technology is growing every single day! Wrap your head around these numbers…
2: The number of years it will take for tablet sales to surpass computer sales annually.
87: The percent of time people spend on mobile apps, compared to 13% of time spent on websites.
5,457: The average number of apps that are released between the Google Play Store and Apple App Store every day!
5 million: The ever-growing number of apps that are available to download today.
269 Billion: The estimated number of app downloads in 2017. If you laid out all the icons to those apps end to end, they would stretch to the moon and back 500 times. Yowza!
Knowing these statistics, it should be easy to understand that a student pulling their device out regularly throughout the day is like clockwork to them. It’s become an engrained habit, just like biting nails or grinding teeth. We know students spend a large amount of time on their phones…so just think if we could get them to use some that time to increase productivity in the classroom. It’s time to teach our students how to use their devices for education.
Today, I CAN confidently say the majority of secondary students today, grades 7-12, carry some kind of mobile device (most likely a smartphone) on them at ALL times. I CANNOT confidently say students who uses their devices while in school are using them for “educational” purposes.
Many teachers and/or classrooms have “No Phone” policies with their students. This drives me crazy! Most students have a tool allowing them to access thousands of educational mobile applications they can access anytime to enhance their learning in the classroom. So why limit the ways education can be accessed? Instead, provide a little guidance and see where it goes. The possibilities are endless.
In my world of Health and Physical Education, I want students to carry on their pursuit of lifelong health and fitness well into their adulthood. Educating students to utilize the technology they will use EVERY SINGLE DAY throughout their lifetime will help them do that.
There are many educational apps that can be used in Health, Physical Education, and many other subject areas. Here are just a few….
Coach’s Eye – Coach’s Eye is the most effective way to provide meaningful feedback to students when demonstrating their knowledge through movement and skill performance. I’ve personally used this app in Physical Education. It’s awesome! I think it could be useful in other subjects like Science, Music, and Performing Arts.
(https://www.coachseye.com/) / Visual Learner? Watch this YouTube video
Day One – Day One is a journaling app letting a person record life as they live it. This would be great for reflections, journals, growth goals and so much more. In the PE classroom, I would have students track and log their fitness, add their reflections, and snap photos / videos of their experience. Teachers…you can definitely make this app work with whatever content area you specialize in.
(http://dayoneapp.com/) / Visual Learner? Watch this YouTube video
Map My Run – This is an app that students can really continue to use throughout their adulthood. Map My Run is the best mobile tracking device for walks, jogs or runs. The best feature I love about this app is the ability to create your own route or access shared routes by other uses anywhere in the world. Check this out!
(https://www.mapmyrun.com/) / Visual Learner? Watch this YouTube video
I am always looking for new apps I can share with the Health and Physical Education teachers I support in my district. When it comes to discovering new educational apps, I have four go-tos:
Professional Development: Engage yourself any way you can and stay current within your teaching field.
Network with Colleagues: Connect with your colleagues. Start a discussion. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions.
Use the Web: Not sure where to look? Start with Google.
Social Media: Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great to use as you can connect with colleagues across the globe to gain new ideas.
Spider-Man once said, “…with great power comes great responsibility.” Connecting that statement to smartphones and the classroom…we can teach students how to be responsible with the great power coming from the palm of their hand AND show them the resources they can use in and out of the classroom to stay educated.
If your students are not using apps to enhance their learning in your classroom, I encourage you to explore the different options available to your content area. Your students will love you for allowing them to use their phones in class!
If you currently use apps as a learning resource in your classroom, which ones do you use to enhance your instruction with your students? Share this information with colleagues in your building…and share your success!
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