Identifying Effective Uses of Mobiles for Encouraging 21st Century Skills

Identifying Effective Uses of Mobiles for Encouraging 21st Century Skills

Cynthia C. M. Deaton (Clemson University, USA), Sandra M. Linder (Clemson University, USA) and Benjamin E. Deaton (Anderson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3949-0.ch006
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This chapter outlines characteristics of inquiry-oriented projects that blend theories of constructivism with mobile technology. These characteristics capitalize upon 21st Century Skills (P21, 2009) that align with learner-centered instructional practices. We share insights from a multiple case study of four secondary teachers' integration of mobiles to encourage student engagement in 21st century skills and inquiry. These teachers integrated mobiles into inquiry-based lessons to promote student ownership of their learning. Data collection from this study included reflective writings, teacher products and an open-ended question from the Technological and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) survey (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Findings indicated that participants consistently encourage their students to engage in 21st Century Skills. Communication, Collaboration, Creativity most common 21st Skills encouraged by the participant as they used mobiles.
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The introduction of mobiles for teaching and learning has become commonplace (Kukulska-Hulme, 2010) in today’s schools. This introduction, however, is not implemented in a manner that is independent of other teaching practices. As teachers are being exposed to mobile learning initiatives, they are also being encouraged to devote themselves to other initiatives, such as 21st century skills and inquiry-based learning (e.g. problem-based learning and project-based learning) to focus on career readiness. Considering current initiatives drive teachers’ pedagogical practices, mobile learning integration should be purposeful in attending to these pedagogical concerns (Ozdamil, 2012). Fortunately, theories of mobile learning support connectivity, authenticity, and context (Crompton, 2013; Kearney et al, 2012), which can bolster students’ use of 21st Century Skills (P21, 2009) and inquiry practices. Inquiry encourages students to engage in collaborative and goal-focused discourse; critical thinking, reasoning, and the development of strategic competence; and opportunities for reflection and making real-world and discipline-based connections (National Research Council, 2000). National teaching standards, such as Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) or the Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2010), continuously encourage student-centered and meaningful learning rooted in tenets of inquiry and 21st Century Skills.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Inquiry: A process of learning that is typically student-centered rather than teacher-directed as is guided by an open-ended process where students are committed to solving a problem, meeting a goal, or answering a question.

TPACK: The TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) is an assessment used to determine one’s beliefs and dispositions towards integrating technology in education.

Situated Learning: A framework for learning where the underlying construct indicates that learning occurs from the meaning-making involved in everyday life. In this framework, it is understood that learning is a social process and context informs development.

Self-Reflective Analysis: A process of learning where the participant engages introspectively regarding their instructional practice. Through this introspection, the participant is able to evaluate their practice, a lesson, student understanding, and so on. This process is often used as part of ongoing professional development as participants assimilate or accommodate information, apply it in practice, and engage in reflection to refine practice over time.

5E Instructional Model: A framework for instruction and student learning that is grounded in inquiry practices. This model has five components which can be used to inform lesson planning. 1. Engagement (where prior knowledge is assessed and interest is peaked through a variety of methods) 2. Exploration (where students engage collaboratively in tasks or activities that work towards a goal or answering a question) 3. Explanation (where students often reflect on the exploration process and describe their understanding or thinking in a variety of ways) 4. Elaboration (where students engaged in follow up tasks that are geared towards extension, generalization, or enhancement of the Exploration). 5. Evaluation (teacher or student assessment of learning throughout the process).

21st Century Skills: A set of competencies that refer to student ability to engage in a global society. While there are differences between the exact competencies depending on the list references, competencies include communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation.

Microanalysis: A qualitative data analysis process related to open coding.

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