May 12th, 2010
As educators, I’m sure you have dealt with the issue of students and their cell phones. Whether texting, getting calls, or using social media sites on smartphones, they are very distracting in the classroom. Your school may even be one that has banned cell phones during class, or even on school property.
With so much that can be done with technology, however, can cell phones actually aid in learning? School districts in North Carolina are using smartphones to improve math performance, and other districts will be joining in the next year. The phones are school-issued, so some capabilities, such as texting, are not enabled. Students are able to post questions on blogs, and it allows students to ask for help at any time of day.
Although some of the applications that would be available on a student’s personal smartphone are not ideal for a learning environment, using personal phones could make the use of these in the classroom a reality much sooner. Guidelines would need to be set before a program is implemented and the phones are allowed into class, but there may be opportunities to incorporate them in your lesson plans.
The use of phones can also allow students to quickly share ideas through texting or perform internet searches on whatever the topic may be. They can make exchanging and gathering information very efficient and timely, in a way that was not possible a few years ago.
I’m interested to know where you stand on the issue of phones in the classroom – does it bother you? Are you in favor of using them as a learning tool? Or are you against them altogether?
As phones and their capabilities evolve, I’m sure you can see the use of this technology becoming a reality in the classroom much sooner than later.