Smartphones and Tablets: Consumer or Creator?

My three children each have smartphones and/or iPads.  Unfortunately, I’ve been disappointed to see that they use their devices more for consumption than creation.  They download more games than apps…  I notice this in my classroom, too.  Most of my students have smartphones in their pockets, but few are using their devices to their full potential.  For the most part, they’re not using their devices in a way that resembles anything I’ve seen in an iPad commercial.

In our classrooms, we need to create opportunities for students to use their iOS and Android devices with purpose.  Even teachers can challenge themselves to try to find balance between their consumption and creation.  How?


Students can shoot photos, edit those photos (iOS or Android), add text to the photos, and even assemble their photos in any number of slideshow platforms.


Students can use their smartphones or tablets to shoot video, edit video, and even create original music scores for their videos.

If you’ve been hesitant to for your students to use this medium because of lack of technology, you should look around the room and see how many of your students have a smartphone.   It’s all you need.  If you can throw in a $20 mini-plug mic, a tripod, and a tripod adapter, even better.


Students can create simple (and not so simple) animations.  Even a short animation can demonstrate understanding of a process or the sequencing of events.


Students can even create original games on their devices.  You don’t even had to know how to program with apps like GamePress and Pixel Press Floors.


Students can write programs on their devices.  Apps like Hopscotch can help ease students into the process.


Maybe there’s an app that functions as a tool in your area.  You might have to do some research.  For example, there are apps for architects, engineers, nurses, biologists, chemists, police officers, etc.


Students can collaborate while writing, shooting video or photos, and even while brainstorming.  Google Drive, Dropbox, Poplet, Mixbit, and the list goes on…  


Students can conduct research and engage an audience with social media.  Most students know how to use social media, but are they using it to elicit information or generate interest in a cause?  Twitter, Instagram, and Vine could easily be used with purpose in a classroom.

Take advantage of the resources you (or your students) have available.

Note: If you have a no-phone policy in your school, pitch your idea to your principal first.







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