Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; Professor of Education, School of Education; Professor of Information, School of Information

Using Smart Phones To Get Smarter


What kind of teacher actually wants students to use cell phones during class? Professor Elliot Soloway does. His research focuses on the use of technology in education and developing software that meets the unique needs of learners. He is one of the founders of the Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education that develops technology-embedded curricula for school-based programs.

One of his recent projects involved developing educational software to turn smart phones into personal computers for students in two Texas classrooms. This Mobile Learning Environment included programs that let students map concepts, animate their drawings, surf relevant parts of the Internet and integrate their lessons and assignments. It also included mini versions of Microsoft Word and Excel. It is currently licensed through Soloway’s Ann Arbor company GoKnow! to users around the world for larger palm-sized computers.

“This is the beginning of the future,” Soloway said. “The future is mobile devices that are connected. They’re going to be the new paper and pencil.” Cell phones can be powerful computers, Soloway says. They can do just about everything laptops can do for a fraction of the price. And many students are bringing them to school anyway.

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