Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mom Explains How She & Her Kid's Are Getting Smart with Cell Phones

, The Unplugged Mom

Okay I do think we as a culture have slipped into a bit of an over-dependency on artificial stimulation and ‘devices’ to go about our lives.  However, I will admit that if we remember the fun of good old fashioned intrinsic experience and keep perspective about us, then innovative technology can be sorta cool.   (barring the radio active potential hazard).
While at Seaworld recently,  I stood with my kids admiring some jellyfish in a tank.   My seven year old asked “Do they have brains?”  I reached into the archives in my mind… and came up blank.  I didn’t think so, but I wasn’t sure, so I said so.   “Then how do they exist?”  He asked.  Then the rest of the questions came “How do they eat? Do they digest? Do they poop? How do they have babies? Can they get hurt?”   and I was stumped.   I felt a little stupid.  How could I not know these Jellyfish facts?  Alas, I did not.  What could I do?  We could buy a book from the giftshop… or… I can Google it!
What? Right there? In the aquarium? I can Google Jellyfish?  Yes!
So I pulled out my Droid and punched in the search.   We spent the next 40 minutes reading about Jellyfish, learning about their physiology, how they live, eat, reproduce and more.

We watched a video while we watched the actual jellies, we did a quiz, we laughed and we learned.
While riding some of the coasters on our recent vacation, my daughter asked about the wildest coasters in the world.  What could she go on? What would really thrill her?  What makes roller coasters so darn fun for many folks?   I didn’t know off the top of my head, so out came the smart phone and we both learned everything we wanted to know and more about thrill ride rating systems, accident incidents, the physics of constructing coasters and more!
While on line for some snack, a woman speaking broken English started a conversation with me.   I used a translation application on my smart phone to have some fun conversation!
While at dinner with my family, there was some confusion over the difference between conch, calamari, squid and octopus salad.   Again I whipped out the Droid and cleared it all up in minutes!   This stared an interesting conversation with the waiter about conch shells being a protected endangered species and conch fishing off the coasts of the tropical Islands.
Okay, I can concede that smart phone technology can indeed be quite useful in education :)
Not to mention keeping track of wait times for rides at the amusement park so that a family can maximize their time most effectively to experience more for their money! :)
What does this all mean?  It means independent, self-sufficient learning is the future folks.  
School is so obsolete.
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For additional ideas, resources, and workshops outlining effective ways to use cell phones for learning, including research-based strategies, lessons, and more, check out Teaching Generation Text
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