It was interesting to read the Horizon Reports from 2011, 2012, and 2013. Even though that was only a few years ago, as I was reading it, it seemed like a lot longer than that. My experience with mobile computing increases all the time, but is still extremely limited. I frequently use a few apps such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Weather on my phone. I use them on a daily basis. I also check my email constantly on my phone. I have two apps that I use as a teacher and as a parent. Remind is an app that my oldest daughter’s teacher uses. It allows the teacher to communicate with parents without giving out cell phone numbers. I use Bloomz to communicate with the parents in my class. It is similar to Remind with a few additional features. All three of my own kids have Kindles that I have put tons of apps on. It wasn’t surprising to read that “over 80% of educational apps specifically target children” from NMC Horizon Report 2013. With the rise in technology use as well as the convenience that technology provides, parents and teachers are always searching for ways to provide learning opportunities while keeping kids engaged. Educational apps do just that.
The technology use in general at my school is very limited. We just recently got Wi-Fi this year, but it is spotty and availability is still limited. Some classrooms are lucky enough to have access to the Wi-Fi consistently, while some are hit and miss, and others don’t have access at all. We also acquired almost a complete classroom set (about 16) of Kindle tablets per grade level this year. Even though that means only 4 per classroom, that is a big deal for our school. Some teachers who have regular access, are beginning to use their tablets in their classrooms, while a majority of the Kindles are collecting dust. The main reason for buying Kindles was the cost factor. The Kindles provided us with access to tablets at an affordable cost. Not only is the Wi-Fi access not reliable, but a majority of our teachers aren’t trained in using mobile computing. The few teachers that use the Kindles are self taught and use apps by experimenting. Besides accessibility, another barrier is the age group that I teach. There are more and more apps becoming available, but I still feel somewhat limited with my first graders. However, I am still hoping to increase mobile computing in my classroom. We have a long way to go with technology access and use at our school, but at least we have a start.
Johnson, L., Adams, S., & Cummins, M. (2013). The NMC horizon report: 2013 k-12 edition. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.