Friday, March 31, 2017

Mobiles in the Classroom Interview

I conducted the interview with an educator name Chrissy Carfagno, who teaches Health Ed and Physical Fitness at CCA (Commonwealth Charter Academy); since Chrissy and I are close friends, I decided to call her to ask her questions about using mobile devices during her LiveLessons. During our conversations, Chrissy disclosed to me how she uses mobile device in our virtual setting, taking into account the difficulties it arises since she can’t technically see students using their devices; it’s all optional…for now she claims. Generally speaking, Chrissy claims she uses mobiles devices mainly to record videos of herself working out. Now, she does show physical fitness moves during her LiveLessons, and they are recorded, but our workspace is limited. We literally work in a cubicle. So, sometimes when she goes to the gym (she’s an avid gym goer), she likes to record herself doing a yoga pose or workout move involving the biceps, and share them with her students; even completing tutorials on full on workout routines. Chrissy also encourage her students to take videos of themselves working out to share during LiveLesson. She advise students, if they have smartphones, to use their StopWatch and/or Timer application when tracking their workout sessions, since they have to be documented for some assignments. Chrissy also recommends downloading Workout trackers (from Google Play Store for example) to keep track of progress, both educationally and personally, throughout the year; she shares a couple of free app ideas with her students. Lastly, Chrissy uses her mobile device to stay in contact with students. She, like most teachers at CCA, have a Google Voice number, and students call her or send her text messages when they need assistance. 
Chrissy is well aware of our school’s policy concerning the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, and remains in compliance with this Acceptable Use Policy at all times. She also knows too that CCA relinquishes the duties of all web based monitoring, including the use of cellular devices, to the Caretakers and designated Learning Coaches as outlined in our school policy. When it comes to parental involvement, Chrissy says she hopes parents remain aware of the activities she encourages with the use of mobile devices, such as the tracking applications, because they too can encourage students to take Heath Ed and Physical Fitness seriously. Parents are also sent the same webmails students are, and on the classroom website, they have their own Parent Corner where they too can review her workout tutorials.  Her main challenge is coming up with new ideas to use with mobile devices, that could include all students, even those without access to a phone. “There are many students at CCA who, because of their beliefs or values, either don’t have smartphones or cell phones altogether,” she says. Chrissy claims, “luckily the policies in place at CCA gives teachers so much freedom to use and advocate for many tools/applications out there in the cyber world.” I agree! 

From this interview, I learned to be more open minded in terms of mobile devices in my learning environment. As a virtual teacher, it’s so easy to get comfortable with our laptops and use them for access to everything technological; that’s also because we know all the students too have the same laptops, all of them, with the same programs and hardware as all the educators. I’m now curious about the different and free educational applications students can access through a source like Google Play Store on their phones, to use for our course; I’m sure there are many tools, even games that can relate to the many topics and concepts explored in American Literature from the 14th century to the 21st century. Chrissy’s feedback was to listen to our students on their opinions and recommendations when it comes to using mobile devices in the learning environment. After all, cell phones are their life, and they know more about technological advancements and the latest tools/applications more than we do! She herself has learned to be patience and have fun. 

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