Cell phones are not a tool that are utilized in kindergarten, but for this week’s EDIM 514 class, we were asked to research the roll of cell phones (smart phones, really) in education, so bear with me. Our assignment was to reach out to someone who uses cell phones in their class. I don’t know anyone who does, and email/twitter requests for an interview were left unanswered, so instead, I researched teachers who have successfully integrated this technology into their teaching practice.
Ken Halla teaches history and social studies and is an accomplished education blogger (you can find them here, here, and here) that focus on increasing technology in history classrooms. Ramsey Musallam teaches AP Chemistry and attributes a lot of his success in communicating with students to cell phone use.
Both teachers stated that using cell phones in classrooms keeps learning dynamic and engaging. Halla allows kids to stream music while working independently. He says that it allows kids to work quietly. Musallam asks kids to text in their answers to questions, as well as uses Remind101 to pose pop quiz-style questions for a chocolate reward. Keeping the class engaging and dynamic also decreases the use of inappropriate use of the cell phones. By being able to walk around the room while waiting for answers to be texted in or by controlling a slideshow from your cell phone, you can be in amongst the kids, which Halla says decreases the chances to make the wrong choice. Halla also uses Remind101 to assess student learning and instantly analyze the results. This allows for immediate feedback to students, which includes the ability to address misconceptions and/or misunderstanding.
Overall, both teachers state that the positives that cell phone use in the classroom far outweighs the negative potential. Halla and Musallam both state that cell phones are commonplace and a normal extension of students and should be treated as such. Although never outwardly stated, my biggest take away is that high expectations and a well planned application of use will lead to high success.
Barseghian, T. (2012, May 10). How Teachers Make Cell Phones Work in the Classroom. [blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/05/how-teachers-make-cell-phones-work-in-the-classroom/
Graham, E. (no date). Using Smartphones in the Classrooms. [blog posts]. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/tools/56274.htm