Mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc) should change education. But how can we do it well?

Mobile devices have become so powerful now it is hard to believe. All of the photos and video in this post were shot on my HTC Evo phone by Sprint. Most, if not all, of the middle and upper school students I work with have phones of this caliber. As a technology director I'm often thinking about how standardized systems support ease of adoption and support in schools. At my school every teachers in the middle and upper school has the same laptop, in the lower school, the faculty have the same laptop. Each student in grades 8-12 has the same laptop in each grade. This means teachers know what students have, and the tech team can easily support them as the knowledge needed is limited by the limited models.

But, if the real issue is certain generic capabilities of the tools (photos, video, writing, audio, Internet access), perhaps standardized equipment is not necessary. I am not convinced by this, but am somewhat enchanted by it. People using their own tools in ways that they are comfortable with. Will that meet the needs of teachers trying to utilize technology for higher-order learning? I don't doubt that it could, but I struggle with how to be strategic in an institution doing it.

Are you letting people bring any device to school? Giving them access to your network? Letting teachers manage dozens of different ways of approaching lesson objectives? What are the advantages? What are the drawbacks?

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Exploring QR codes in schools

QR code link to Wikipedia article about QR codes

From @abowllan comes a link to this thought-provoking article by Tim Wilsonabout what might be possible in schools using QR codes. I think the case is a little overstated in the post, but it's fun to think about nonetheless. If you don't know what a QR code (that bar code-looking item) is, the article explains that, too.