18 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
representing each of the three divisions, volunteered to participate in an investigative prototype. Whilst
some students were already bringing in their personal devices, this provided an opportunity for teachers
to intentionally incorporate the use of these devices in their daily lessons with students. During a period
of 4-6 weeks, teachers reflected regularly with task force members regarding how they incorporated
devices into lessons. Teachers maintained an online journal of their reflections and experiences. They
shared their perspective on the process, how it affected their teaching, and the students’ learning.
Reflections from participating teachers can be found here for the Elementary School and here for the
After the first prototype ended in December of 2012, the following recommendations were made:
Further study of and document the successes of mobile devices in the classroom. A full year
prototype to explore and document the use and integration of secondary mobile devices across
grade levels and subjects. The prototype should reach across as many disciplines as possible to
ensure that a range of both strategies and apps are explored and their impact studied. Five to ten
teachers and teacher assistants at each division should be invited to participate in the prototype.
These participants should be provided an allowance for purchasing a secondary mobile device of
The services of a researcher will be engaged to support the work of the task force.
A program for “gifting” of apps to teachers is recommended as it could promote greater
experimentation of new apps in classrooms.
Professional development opportunities should be offered highlighting pedagogical approaches
and instructional uses of mobile devices and apps. Prototyping participants should have greater
access to online courses, digital resources and information about how to use mobile devices for
In response to the recommendations, an invitation for more prototypers went out to the three school
divisions with over forty teachers and assistants responding. In August of 2013, they were given a stipend
to purchase a mobile device of their choice. Their responsibilities as a participant in the prototype were
to respond to journal prompts once a week. This had worked well for the initial prototype, so the decision
was made to continue this approach as a data collection instrument. Many of the participants found this
expectation to be challenging, but overall the journals did provide a large set of data that now exists.
However, throughout the duration of the nine month prototype, very few of the participants offered
regular journal entries in spite of nudging and face-to-face encouragements by the mobile task force
members. In retrospect, we realize that the journals were not the best research instrument for this
prototype and became unwieldy in terms of number of contributors and analysis.
In addition to the provision of a device, a variety of professional development opportunities were created
to support the teachers. An online course for the ASB Online Academy was developed and offered in the
fall of 2013 during the first few months of the prototype. App Swaps were offered a few times as after-school low-key events for all teachers to exchange information and practices. Additionally, a twitter chat
was arranged for participants to exchange ideas. A common criticism of the prototyping participants was
that the activity of journaling is a very solitary venture and the prototypers did not have an opportunity
to share and learn from others.
The PD opportunities were designed to address this so that the prototypers could participate even at a
distance from each other, but yet feel a sense of community around their involvement. A Google form
and spreadsheet were created to share information about the apps that the participants were using, but