Research projects like this one may be just what we need to turn the tide. This study found that just owning a cell phone may boost learning. In 2012, Qualcomm's Project K-Nect provided cell phones to 9th grade students in several low income North Carolina schools. At the end of the year, students’ test scores increased 30% with no additional intervention (such as teacher training).
Still not seeing any ideas that grab you? Here is a list of 44 really good ways to use phones to enhance instruction. The author’s eyes were opened to the potential of cell phone use in the classroom when he attended a conference of the International Society for Technology in Education. But he also recalled the words of one of his baseball coaches: “Potential and a dollar will get you a Coke.” His suggestions for realizing the potential of cell phones are organized into categories.
For the teacher just starting to consider using cell phones in the classroom, here are some great suggestions for testing the waters: 2 techniques to support in-class instruction; suggestions for bringing research capability into the classroom; and using Google Goggles for learning about image-based content (be sure to catch the embedded video that explains this last one).
Here are a few more tips from Kolb, to help “Ensure teens use their cellphones responsibly in class and stay off Instagram.” The article includes a link to a downloadable poster on cell phone manners from the Emily Post Institute.
Liz Kolb has become something of a guru on the topic of classroom uses of cellphones since the 2008 publication of her book, Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones and Education. In this 2011 Educational Leadership article, she outlines 7 compelling reasons why cell phones are important in learning, including “students need preparation for 21st century jobs.” She describes 7 learning activities that tap the potential of cell phones.
Ask 50 educators to define 21st century learning, and you’ll get 50 different answers: some enthusiastic, some snide, and some bitter. But the National Council on Teacher Education (NCTE) offers a definition in this position statement. It is short and sweet, but it is also deep and rich. As you consider each point, ask, “could cell phones in the classroom help with that’?
The previous video has 53,400 views: THIS one has 4 million views. I think that says a lot. Most likely, the video was ""staged""; nevertheless, what it mostly says, to me, is that teachers and parents are still thinking of cell phones as phones--as a distraction in the classroom, rather than a potential learning tool. The video also makes me wonder what was going on in this classroom prior to the interruption and whether that has anything to do with why this student didn't have his phone.
This video was uploaded in 2009, but it doesn't look outdated. I find that most adults, including teachers, have a hard time imagining how students could do anything with their cell phones that would aid learning. This video gives a few peeks at how that can happen. I especially like the demonstration of the free phone application, Poll Anywhere, that turns cell phones into exactly the same devices as expensive ""clicker"" technologies for tallying and displaying individual student responses.