In a word: yes.
That's according to Aya Sakaguchi, the co-founder of Curious Learning, a Resident Venture at the Harvard Innovation Lab.
Her message is that mobile technology can break down the four walls of the classroom and encourage students to embrace an unlimited learning environment: the world at large.
Here are some of her startling statistics:
1) A Gallup Poll found that the longer kids stay in school, the less engaged they are in learning.
2) 8,300 drop out of school every day and that equates to 3 million a year.
3) 56% of high school students own a smart phone and that statistic is only going to increase.
Aya is encouraging teachers to give students real-life assignments and then have them search out real life examples. When it comes to geometry one example is to have students take pictures of patterns in the world like the veins in a leaf.
I agree that tapping into one's curiosity is the best way to engage students and I actually tested the theory.
When I was in fifth grade I was in a program called "Spontaneous Learning" and until that time I considered learning a spectator sport. I found the routine of the classroom boring but came alive when the teacher used our curiosity as the curriculum.
While we didn't have smart phones back then, the philosophy was the same -- knock down the four walls and venture out into the world using curiosity as our guide.
I am beyond grateful that I was schooled in this curiosity-driven philosophy because it made me consider learning as an adventure. Without it, I may have sat at the sidelines of learning for my entire life.
Smart phones? Sure. Why not make them part of the curriculum? But let's not get caught up technology. The more important guest to invite into the classroom is a student's curiosity.