Can cell phones really provide their owners with the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that will help them succeed in their schools, their jobs, and their lives? I maintain that the only correct answer to the question of what students can learn with a cell phone is “anything, if we educators design it right.” There are many different kinds of learning and many processes that people use to learn, but among the most frequent, time-tested, and effective of these are listening, observing, imitating, questioning, reflecting, trying, estimating, predicting, speculating, and practicing. All of these learning processes can be supported through cell phones.
Despite what some may consider cell phones’ limitations, our students are already inventing ways to use their phones to learn what they want to know. If educators are smart, we will figure out how to deliver our product in a way that fits into our students’ digital lives—and their cell phones. Instead of wasting our energy fighting their preferred delivery system, we will be working to ensure that our students extract maximum understanding and benefit from the vast amounts of cell-phone-based learning of which they will, no doubt, soon take advantage.
In “What Can You Learn from a Cell Phone? Almost Anything!”, Marc Prensky