Cell Phones in the Classroom?

July 8, 2010

Believe it or not…

some teachers are incorporating cell phones into their classroom activities.

Here’s a bit about how they are being used:

“I integrated the phones into everything we did,” says Cook. “I could have students draw solar system orbits on their devices, and then animate them to show them in real orbit.” In math, Cook’s students used animations to change number values by moving around decimal points. And for joint research projects, they used their smartphones to take pictures, explore relevant Web sites, fill in spreadsheets, and compose Word documents that they shared by pointing the devices end-to-end and beaming the information to each other. From District Administration

Let’s cut to the chase with a list of pros and cons:

Pros

  • Real world technology
  • Includes texting, Web browsing, and game playing
  • Part of “anytime, anywhere” learning
  • Reduce “the digital divide” as cell phones are relatively inexpensive (compared to computers)

Cons

  • Some find cell phones distracting
  • Small screen size
  • Requires wireless

.

What do you think?


Tech Ban

August 20, 2009

cell phone

Today, I came across an article about the Indonesian school cell phone ban in 2008. I suspect that by now many schools (and maybe other countries) have similar bans. Sometimes, I wish I could ban iPhones and Blackberry’s from rooms that I’m in!

But cell phone usage in schools goes beyond annoying and distracting (although annoying and distracting was enough to get Tomagotchis banned from my middle school). My suspicion is that it heightens all of the worst parts of social life at school: bullying, pressure to fit in, cliques, affectation of personality, and other issues no longer turn off when a class begins.

My constant faith in technology, however, makes me wonder if there isn’t something positive that cell phones can bring to the classroom. They obviously have extreme potential as tools for communication. Is there a way that educators can harness this potential?