‘Mobile’ Schools Use Technology to Break Free of the Classroom
Portable Devices, Wireless Networks Let Schools Push Boundaries of Where, When and How Students Learn
By ANA CAMPOY and JULIA HARTE (published in the Wall Street Journal)
Summer vacation is over for students at Houston’s A+ Unlimited Potential school, but they won’t be stuck in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom all day.
Instead, the middle school’s students will have class in places such as coffee shops, tapping into free wireless networks to collaboratively edit texts, or visit city parks to photograph wildflowers before researching them online. They will spend roughly half their time out and about, and the rest at a rented space in the heart of Houston’s Museum District.
The private school of about 40 students, in its second year, is part of a range of experiments around the country that have students spending less time in classrooms, or even dismiss traditional classroom instruction altogether—pushing the boundaries of where, when and how students learn.
Proponents of the approach contend that portable devices and wireless networks have the potential to redefine K-12 education, lifting student performance by making learning more fun while lowering administrative and facility costs.
Education experts and school officials, however, say there are limits to the model, noting that not all students have consistent access to mobile devices, and that gadgets can be useless as a learning tool without a good teacher who knows how to use them effectively. “Technology is awesome,” said Cicely Benoit, an instructor at A+ UP. “But you still can’t replace the human and physical connection.”
Read the rest of the story here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/mobile-schools-use-technology-to-break-free-of-the-classroom-1410111280