Using Cell Phones in the classroom

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by wcormode, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. wcormode

    wcormode Rookie

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I know that the students have them. I know that they use them. They are so quick and talented at texting I am sure they can do it in their pocket in the 2 seconds that I am looking the other direction. Why fight it?

    I saw this article today: http://historytech.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/cell-phones-in-the-classroom/

    I absolutely love the ideas in it. As a math teacher I could post extra credit questions if Wiffiti and they could answer by text. I could use Polleverywhere and incorporate into my lessons. I would obviously give students without phones an opportunity to answer by paper or verbally.

    I would also okay everything with my building principal in advance. Plus I would have them take something home for their parents to sign.

    What do you think? What are ways to protect against things going awry? Is this more trouble then it is worth? Could I post the questions and then ask them to answer outside of class?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 11, 2010

    My daughter's high school has a strict 'no cell phones' in class policy--I wouldn't contravene that.
     
  4. wcormode

    wcormode Rookie

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    Our school is rural and most parents have to call long distance just to reach the school. They have a toll free number but there isnt always someone in the office. So they allow phones in school. If teachers see them in class they are allowed to take them away. But students are allowed to use them before and after school plus passing periods. If phones become a problem the policy becomes more strict and it can become more relaxed if the students are really good.

    My thing is that with a strict no phones policy the kids just want to break it more. I guarantee that more kids use their phones under that policy than do under our policy.

    I just would like to get the kids more motivated to try things. I have had a relatively easy Extra credit question on the board for 3 days. It only takes a little bit of research and then one step on a calculator but no one has given an answer yet. Maybe if I incorporated things they like then they would participate.
     
  5. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Oct 11, 2010

    Whether or not I used this in my classroom would depend on my administrator/principal. If she/he was open to new ideas, I'd go for it. If she/he was someone that was behind the times and against learning and using new technology, I wouldn't waste my time.

    Thanks for sharing the link!
     
  6. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Oct 11, 2010

    My problem with using cell phones in class is determining when the student is just texting or when they are doing the activity. I also would worry that this wouldn't lower or limit the amount of texting going on in class but actually increase it as some students will view it as being OK now.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I didn't click on the link but I have been to several sites that promote cell usages in class. So far there have not been any activities on those sites that I couldn't do in class without them.

    I'm a stickler for rules and have never seen a need to use technology just for technology's sake. I've not seen how powerpoints are any better for student learning than overheads, for instance. And I absolutely cannot stand the mentality of "well, they're going to do it anyway, might as well make it school related." Well, they're going to wear bootie shorts anyway, might as well get the school's logo on there... Well, they're going to have sex anyway, might as well be at home when they do it...

    My student's text from time to time in class. And I take away phones from time to time in class. No biggie. I am still able to tell if they understand the answer to question # 5 without them needing a phone.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I'm not interested in using cell phones in class for several reasons. I better understand them being used for outside of class projects, for example the assignment requiring students to take five photos telling a story, but that could be done with a regular camera, cell phone...whatever tools the students had. So it's not so much about the cell phone. My issue with having students texting during class discussions...while I understand it encourages those students less likely to participate to in fact do so, and it may allow for a "fluid" conversation, I THINK PEOPLE NEED TO TALK, AS IN USE THEIR MOUTHS, MORE. I think we are suffering because of the communication methods we are choosing, and I simply don't want to promote less human to human, face to face talking.

    Again, I do realize there are positive things which could come from the use of cell phones, and I understand teachers are simply trying to reach the kids, meet them where they are if you will, but this may be trying too hard...

    I love educational technology, but this wouldn't be something I pursued even if I taught high school (which I don't). :)
     
  9. fedfanforever11

    fedfanforever11 Rookie

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    Oct 11, 2010

    Also, wouldn't it be very embarrassing for students who do not have a phone/cannot afford one?
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Oct 11, 2010

    If your admin supports you, give it a try.

    Things that could go wrong:
    - not everyone having a cell phone
    - charges to the cell phone if a student goes over limit
    - may produce a "cell phones are okay" environment

    For a couple of years I've been seeing similar articles, I'd like to know how it works for a teacher. I haven't ventured there because all of my students have laptops and there is other software for real-time interactions.

    I don't fight the battle anymore. Students still shouldn't have their phones out in my classroom, but instead of taking phones I just say, "it's rude to have your phone out while this is going on."

    At the beginning of the school year I tell them why I'm anti-cell phone in my classroom ... it's rude. I don't have my phone out because my attention is on them. They don't have their phone out because their attention is on me/peers.

    We have too many teachers on their phones at inappropriate times for me to confiscate every phone I see. I'm not one of them.
     
  11. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I was a technology conference last year and they encouraged this type of thing. (they also encouraged unrestricted firewalls on social networking--don't know how I feel about that) I think using cell phones interactive in the classroom is nice, but it might turn into a have vs. have not. I am surprised by the number of kids at the elementary school I am at this year who don't know what texting is. This might work out if all the students have cell phones other wise they might feel left out. I wouldn't have had a cell phone in high school and would have felt left out, even if I could verbalize or write in my answer.


    side note: My sister (25) can text one handed without looking at her phone. She doesn't use the shortcuts--writes out the full words. I text two handed on a full keyboard. But I can have a laptop open and type both sides of the keyboard one handed and send an email while walking.
     
  12. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Oct 12, 2010

    There is always that problem with "dual-use technology"....a lot of handsets also have features such calculators, so students will claim that they're using a calculator function in class.
     
  13. jakissko

    jakissko Rookie

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    Oct 12, 2010

    That looks like a very good way to integrate cell phones in the curriculum! I recently discovered an iPhone app called "Toozla" that lets you create audio commentaries from wherever you are, then upload them and let others access it based on their GPS location... it's fascinating.

    I recently wrote an arrticle detailing how teachers can use it in their classroom - if you google "toozla education", it'll be the top result.

    I, too, wish cell phones were allowed in our school, but I also understand the reasons why they're not. Too bad we can't block the phone signal from coming into the buildings when we want to!

    Johnny Kissko
    K-12 Mobile Learning
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I head off the "but I'm just using the calculator" bit before the students start working. I tell them they need to use the scientific calculators that they were told to purchase for my class. Otherwise they can re-familiarize themselves with long division ;)
     
  15. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    There's no way I would allow use of cell phones in my room. They can't not open and not respond to that text message they got from their friend while texting the response to your question, it's too great of a temptation.

    They are also quite good with the cell phones, but you will catch them given time and patience. I tell them at the beginning of the year, "you'll probably get away with it for a bit but I will catch you eventually." Our district policy is that the first time we keep it 2 days, second time it's a week, third is a month, and fourth is the rest of the semester. Also, the parent has to come to the school to get it once we take it.

    I collect 6 or 8 each semester, but the cell phone problems in my classes are pretty limited.
     
  16. Kaylee hutton

    Kaylee hutton Rookie

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    Oct 18, 2010

    Im currently doing my thesis about the advantages and disadvantages of the usage mobile phone during class periods. I hypothosis that the use of using cell phone is very important in means of aguiring infomation that is online.
     
  17. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Oct 19, 2010

    I would strongly disagree with your hypothesis. You permit phone usage in the classroom and you're setting yourself up for a lot of trouble. Don't want to go there.

    If you want to have the students acquire information online during class - it's got to be structured, managed - better to take them to a computer lab with certain stipulations on usage. And even so if you don't monitor them the kids will try to access their Facebook and other social pages. And you may stipulate what websites are acceptable because a lot of stuff on the internet is just junk. Most if not all schools will require their students/parents to sign a technology use agreement that spells out the conditions on usage of computers, any violation of such are grounds for taking away computer use privileges.
     
  18. TechGuy

    TechGuy Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2010

    using technology for the sake of technology never makes sense. if it doesn't improve the learning, then there is no point for it.
     
  19. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I agree with JackTrader. How many of us have sat in a college classroom where folks had their laptops out to "take notes electronically"? If you sit in the back where you can see the screens, you will find that a great many of them aren't taking notes at all.

    Texting each other, playing games, planning their weekend, etc, etc, etc.

    If this is the behavior you commonly see in a college setting, why would you expect high school students to be more mature and responsible in how they spend their class time?
     
  20. onestepcloser

    onestepcloser Companion

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    Oct 20, 2010

    I'm so glad my school has established a school-wide no cell phone policy and that it's actually being enforced by teachers and admin is supporting us in enforcing it.
     

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