Monday, May 24, 2010

An Education in Every Pocket

NPR ran a story this morning on mobile apps that folks in the mental health field are using to help better treat their patients:
These mobile technologies let users track their moods and experiences, providing a supplemental tool for psychiatrists and psychologists.
"It gives me an additional source of rich information of what the patient's life is like between sessions," says University of Pennsylvania researcher Dimitri Perivoliotis, who treats patients with schizophrenia. "It's almost like an electronic therapist, in a way, or a therapist in your pocket." 
And of course, after swerving the car over to the side of the road to barely miss the pickup truck that I'd failed to see breaking as I was lost in the radio story, I asked myself aloud in the car: WHY AREN'T WE DOING THIS WITH KIDS?

For considerably less than the cost of textbooks, we could set up every kid with a handheld wi-fi device full of personalized tutor-apps. And school/homework/fieldtrip/to-do-list reminder apps. And apps to track student progress and development -- just like the apps doctors are already using to gauge the experiences of their patients.

Ok, folks, I gotta know: anyone out there doing this already?


  1. I am very interested in seeing the responses you get to this question. We are currently looking at Verizon's mobile learning devices and the program GoKnow. We will be doing a trial this summer. I am excited the possibilities mld could provide for the classroom and beyond! Please tweet if you get some interesting responses!

  2. The problem with mobility and education is that it's changing at a rate we can't keep up with. Phones and apps are outdated almost monthly, if not yearly. When you're dealing with the standardization of school, and you must outfit EVERY CHILD with something like this, the possibility of it occurring is nearly 0.

    Look for private schools and charter schools to use stuff like this for several reasons:
    1. to set themselves apart (particularly charter schools)
    2. because they can!

    Until the development of tech. slows down, I don't think the public will see it as worth the hassle.

  3. I am actually doing some of this via Google, google docs, etc... Using Twitter inside and outside of the classroom for HW/EC opportunities, and using camera phones for Spanish projects is allowing them to integrate so much more within the target language than just watching videos or telemundo...

  4. Have a look here. Early days yet but very interesting so far. 50+ 10 year olds all with their Itouches....

  5. That would be a very cool idea. It would certainly help my son, who is tied to his phone, but constantly forgets homework, etc.

  6. I did some of this a few years ago with the Upward Bound Program in Millersville, PA. Can always share notes from the lessons learned. In terms of who is doing this now, groups like speak about education (outside of the US) from time to time, and the site Interactive Multimedia Tech speaks about mobile and education in respect to addressing special education needs. I do some covering of current mobile educational practices on my Mobile Ministry Magazine blog as well, but I'd rather point to those who are blazing these trails.


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