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Supporting teachers to use the mobile internet in schools

Recent results from the EU Kids Online Study II have shown that accessing the internet via mobiles is highly popular amongst young people in Austria. According to the study, 53 per cent of all teenagers are using the mobile internet, and the numbers will continue to increase over the coming years.

With the high popularity of the mobile internet and the increasing number of different devices used, it becomes very difficult to monitor young people’s access and usage of new media. What we are regularly facing in our workshops are schools that entirely block Facebook and other social networking sites. However, technical measures alone can never be the solution – not only because the days in which the internet could only be accessed by a computer are over, but also because they won’t teach young people how to deal with inappropriate content or with being cyberbullied.

This is the key message that we try to convey especially to schools, and we hope to catch teachers’ interest through targeted resources. One of them is the teacher’s handbook on mobile phones. Over 56 pages, teachers find answers to relevant questions and get a brief overview on how mobile phone usage can be dealt with successfully and in everyone’s interest. Facts on mobile internet are featured in different chapters, and the handbook includes materials and ideas for classroom activities such as using apps or geo tagging applications creatively in class.

We are also about to launch a new flyer targeted at young people. The flyer will have the shape and the design of a smartphone and will provide a number of short and very basic tips on using mobiles, including the mobile internet. All resources can be downloaded on our website at Saferinternet.at. Further information on the work of the Austrian National Awareness Centre is available on the Insafe website, or visit the Saferinternet.at website.

Location

Austria
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Comments

i agree

Comment Author

Anne Schanz

Monday, 22nd August, 2011

Hi Abdul,
Thanks for posting your comment, I completely agree with what you are saying. Access to ICTs alone can never be enough. Like any other tool, ICTs are only a valuable tool if you are taught how to use it. Otherwise, the road is paved for misuse. What I currently wonder is: how can we empower our teachers (no matter where in the world) to teach their students a skill which they themselves are just learning? A skill which they are struggeling to learn since it is linked to using tools they have only just started to use as opposed to their students who are growing up with them? Tools which dramatically change the way we work and learn and thus question the very skill (teaching) which teachers has acquired during years of studying and practicing?

I wonder if the teacher-student relationship couldn't be turned on its head and if teachers could not learn many things from their students in this case, e.g. how to use crowd-sourcing services on the web. Teachers could then use their meta-teching skills and critically reflect the use (and misuse) of ICTs together with their students.

Provide sensitization to students

Comment Author

Abdul - Rashid Imoro

Friday, 19th August, 2011

Hi Anne,

It is good to hear that student s in Australia can access the internet with their mobile phones. But what is worrying is the fact that school authorities are putting in measures to prevent students from having access to a social network like the facebook. What I think the school authorities should do is to task teachers to help students to appreciate the positive ways they can use the internet to benefit them. This could inform the students of the need to use the internet in ways that would promote their learning.
It has become obvious that the mobile phone is the most accessible ICT tool to students, it is therefore important for teachers to take advantage of this to help students aquire knowledge.