The trend towards multi-device projects in the classroom
Multi-device use and multi-channel viewing, also known as cross-platform viewing, is quickly emerging as the way in which we now watch things. We don’t just turn on our TV’s when we get home, but also our iPad, tablet, android or iPhone… interacting with different devices at the same time.
For example, you might be watching a cookery programme on the TV, whilst trying to find the recipe on your iPad, whilst checking out the host’s Twitter account on your iPhone. Gone are the days when we relied on just our TV’s or our desktop computers – now there is a choice of screens all vying for our attention.
This trend has trickled through to the classroom, where schools have been recognising the advantages of handheld devices to aid teaching and learning. Creative teaching practices and increased flexibility in the way that we teach and learn have enabled classrooms to experiment with lesson plans involving a number of different devices. In fact, many children are now used to using a variety of different technology in their classrooms. Many toddlers become comfortable with using smart phones and tablets by the time they even reach nursery school. A big challenge for schools with just desktop computers therefore is that children are growing up as digital natives, but when they get to the school gates they have to leave that at the door.
Instead, ‘cross-platform projects’ mean students can try their ideas out on multiple devices, mirroring what they do at home. For example, children might be working on desktop computers to design a website, and then be using an iPad to see how it looks on a tablet. They can address questions like:
- Will the website I design on a desktop computer show the same on an iPad and / or smartphone?
- Does new content need to be created for each channel?
- Which content fits which channel?
Utilising different media platforms helps in engaging students and motivating them to learn – especially in more challenging subjects and more technical parts of the ICT curriculum. It also helps with team work – for example, teachers can have students all working together on one project, but at different levels. In the web design project, more advanced students might be taking on more of the technical and complex coding work, whilst others might be more comfortable with activities like incorporating interactive widgets (photo albums, feedback forms etc.) using pre-built templates found in their software programs. At each stage, multi-device use can allow them to take turns to check each other’s work.
A crucial factor in getting these types of cross-platform projects to run smoothly is having devices readily available and accessible. They are near impossible to operate if not, as they would take far too much time to organise. Trying to load up desktop computers whilst distributing mobile devices one by one from a cabinet, only to find they are not charged… it all ends up in a logistical nightmare that leaves no time for the real teaching and learning. Teachers instead find solace in suitable storage devices with built in charging, which enable different devices to be distributed (and returned at the end of the class) with ease with multi-device charging stations. These types of solutions are the new facilitators to activities like these. Teachers have the freedom to be creative in their lesson planning and multi-channel projects can be carried out with little hassle or wasted class time.
As the number and variety of video screens grows around us, learning about multi-device and multi-channel viewing is beneficial for our future generations who will only see a rise in the number of devices being used at one time. With the knowledge that we are likely to be looking at our smart phones whilst we are watching TV, many advertising campaigns now cover a range of channels at the same time. Advertising and marketing executives are expected not only to have a broad range of knowledge about each channel, but also to have the ability to link messages and campaigns across platforms. Content is not just regurgitated from one platform to the next, and this is key for students to know.
Learn more about LocknCharge or see how multi device charging stations can assist multi-device viewing now.