Many teachers will tell you that they have tablets, iPads or iPods in their classroom and that they know how to use them, but my question is, are they being used to their full capacity? Mobile apps can be used for product, process or product/process reasons. Product-oriented teachers are those who primarily use mobiles app to revise and support curriculum. This may be through word searches, vocabulary building, math equations, etc. Their main objective is to have students using technology in their classroom more on an individual or by groups of two to support learning outcomes. If this is the case, why not use curriculum supported websites instead? It is meeting the same outcome and does not require a class set or a few iPads for the classroom. Classroom laptops can be just as portable and flexible with some learning. I believe some teachers fall into this category because they are unaware of the real potential of mobile apps or do not have the time to fully understand how mobile apps can be used to support learning.
The process-oriented teacher is a teacher who is not concerned if students bring in their own mobile devices, in fact, they encourage BYOD. Students learning with a process-oriented teacher allows room for personalization. Students are not mandated to all use the same app, they can be given a variety of app choices that meet the same objective. As teachers know, students learn in multiple ways (audio, visual, tactile…), so why not allow their mobile learning to be diverse as well? Since the process is at the heart of learning, teachers do not concern themselves with uploading and finding ways to download all of the student’s work. Sometimes learning is about how to get to the end, not to show proof that they have arrived at the end. If they have mastered the skill, and have demonstrated the steps to get there through opportunities of sharing, shouldn’t that be just as efficient? It’s another way to gain formative assessment on your students.
The product/process-oriented teacher, understands the benefits of both systems and believes that they both have value in learning. I fall into this category as I believe that students do need the time practice some skills without working through a process, whereas other times they need to experience several ways to achieve the same goal. With the right balance, students will get what they need out of mobile learning. Teachers who are product-oriented, need to remember that process is just as important and should take some risks to ensure that mobile learning stays interactive and collaborative, and not be used solely as a reward system for good behaviour or to practice rote memory.