Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cell Phones in the Classroom? The Classic 21st Century Debate

Photo: Dru Bloomfield, Flickr
How do you feel about the use of cellphones in the classroom? Should these devices be banned? How can they be effectively used in education? In the ever-evolving world of technology and its place in the classroom, this debate is still quite heated.

At my school, cellphones are turned in by our senior (Grade 6-8) students every morning to the office and picked up at the end of the day. This practice was put into place when students were caught texting inappropriate messages to each other and also phoning parents without the teacher's knowledge. This in turn caused a problem when a student was being picked up at recess by their parent (without informing the office or the teacher) and the student then being thought of as missing. This extreme case might make one question the need to collect all the phones on an on-going basis, but the measure was put into place to prevent future problems.

I would be interested in finding out more about how these devices are used "for good" in schools. Do educators use sites like Poll Everywhere and Wiffiti to gauge student interest or to get feedback on lessons? Do you let students phone into their online persona such as a Voki to leave feedback or leave thoughts. How can these powerful devices be used effectively in education?

I was busy marking and doing other report card related tasks Saturday morning, and missed the Classroom 2.0 live session. Thanks to my PLN on Twitter, Lisa Nielsen, the Innovative Educator's blog was shared with me. (Thanks @parentella for the link.) On her blog, I found an interesting article from November 3, 2010 about the use of cell phones in the classroom that was co-written using Google Docs by George Engel, Rob Griffith, Scott Newcomb, Lisa Nielsen, Jason Sutter and Willyn Webb. In their article "10 Proven Strategies to Break the Ban and Build Opportunities for Student Learning with Cell Phones", a comprehensive guide is shared outlining the steps to use cellular devices in the classroom. I also appreciate the number of research articles that this group has shared in their article and will be checking out their list. If you are interested in the use of these devices in your classroom, you should check it out.