As a teacher, it becomes less and less unusual to see a student enter the classroom with a mobile device: an iPod, a tablet (Apple or other), a smartphone. Most of the time, the first reaction to this situation will be to keep them out of the eyes and minds of the children or adolescents that are in the class. This course of action is mostly caused by the general understanding that these mobile devices are distractions which drag the kids’ attention away from the learning. However, this view of the new gadgets at the disposition of a teacher’s pupils is, in all honesty, incomplete. As it is feared, mobile devices may, to a certain extent, be a danger to the necessary level of focus required in a class to be able to properly understand and retain the given material. Nonetheless, the case of these machines does not stop there. On the contrary of what some may think and say, iPads and their technological companions come with various ways to enhance the classroom experience for the students.

Depending on what you want to do with your students, the applications needed for the students to have on their devices will vary. The first question to be asked is what they will be using it for. Five broad choices are offered to you, which define which applications should be added to your or your students’ tablet: remembering/understanding, applying the knowledge, analysing, evaluation, or creating. Once categories have been chosen, the teacher can start adding specific, preferred applications on the educational mobile devices. However, it is necessary to make sure that each application is useful to the specific student; after all, everyone learns in a different way( Some will have an easier time if they follow the class from their tablet, reading an article. Some may find the understanding of the material easier if they listen to the same material, for example if it is a video. Kinesthetics will need this same material to be experienced, maybe through the use of a game or a 3D model of the material presented. The list could continue for a long time, however I believe the meaning behind my words is clear; each student needs to be accounted for. In a perfect world, each student’s personality, strengths and weaknesses need to be taken into account. Even if it is realistically not quite possible, a teacher should still work hard to make sure the students are given the tools they need to learn.

Before getting started with the material, however, a precaution should be taken. As the web develops, there come more and more occasions for the students and the teacher to use it as a tool for teaching and learning. Various websites offer presentations, 3D maps, puzzles and others to help the process. Nevertheless, a teacher should understand that the internet may not always be very friendly with students, even more when they are very young. Precautions should always be taken to keep students away from websites that may be unwanted and possibly harmful to them.

Once this precaution has been taken, you are free to go, and so are the students. Enjoy your and your students’ time learning with the aid of portable devices!