Recently in my masters of Education class we have been discussion the use of cell phones in the classroom for an educational purpose. I wanted to know what are some opinions out there regarding this topic? If you are for the use of cell phones what are some of the positive / effective ways they are used?

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We can't forget that cellphones are powerful mobile mini-computers. There is a period of normalization that occurs with any new technology. We need to guide students through digital citizenship and appropriate use. We also need to get to the point in which students are self-regulating, which means some initial guiding and regulation on our part as teachers working with students. I guess what we have to ask ourselves is "do we want to pretend we don't know students are texting behind our backs anyway" or do we want to be open and find an opportunity to teach them appropriate use and guide them towards self-regulation by helping them manage their attention?

Try putting students in groups when not all your students have cell phones. You'll find the "haves" are willing to share with the "have-nots" during this time as many have data plans (though you should never insist on sharing and I can bet it would be a very rare case that someone objects anyway). This way everyone gets an opportunity for deeper learning, instead of no one. Working in groups of 3 or 4 is great. If you're worried about the self-esteem of the ones who don't have phones, it's not like they don't already know who the "have" and "have-nots" are. I remember back in high school when many of the girls around me were wearing designer clothes and I was wearing regular clothes. It's a life lesson they've already learned.

I've actually never had a cell phone stolen in class before. When they're out in the open, it's pretty obvious which phone belongs to whom and kids rarely let them out of their sights. Though yes, it is a potential problem and you would need to share those risks with your students.

Right now students are texting with their phones because it's a great tool in their social world, as they look for ways to keep adults out of a space while they work to find their identities. They engage in shifting social circles as they try to establish long-lasting friendships like the ones we now have in adulthood. I have spoken with students who feel pressured by their friends to text back immediately upon receipt. They get into a dangerous cycle of compulsion that is full of internal interruptions and social pressure. This is very different from how adults use texting. We can take our time getting back to people without feeling quite the same stress. As teachers we can try to get rid of the external interruptions in their environment but they will find ways around it. Controlling their external environment by banning cell phones does nothing to quell the internal interruptions that take place in the head, repeatedly popping up and reminding them to "take a look at that screen" and check where they stand in each other's friends' lists.
In order to address this issue and help kids control their compulsion, we need to teach them how to become autonomous.

In order to address this issue and help kids control their compulsion, we need to teach them how to become self-regulators and how to engage in appropriate social etiquette. This can happen through allowing use at appropriate times during class, guided by helping them manage the type of attention required of the task at hand. We do this through adult guidance, attention cuing, mentorship, and teaching digital citizenship. You can't teach these when you ignore what they're doing anyway and your risk putting yourself outside of their world.

I produced a 37-minute documentary on this topic for my Masters. I interviewed David Buckingham, author and Director of the London Knowledge Learning Lab; Danah Boyd, author, Berkeley fellow and researcher for Microsoft and Harvard; Linda Stone, retired Executive from Apple and Microsoft; Dr. David Meyer, Psychology professor at the University of Michigan; and Neil Andersen, author, media consultant, and speaker with the Association for Media Literacy. I also interviewed teachers and school administrators, parents, and most of all..teens. You can view some of the clips from my documentary at www.janemitchinson.ca

cell phones does belong in the classroom as it enhance learning but just have to find way of how to incorporate in the classroom

I am completely against cell phones in the classroom. They can only serve as a distraction and am not sure how they would be advantageous. The temptation to text or play games would be too strong for some students to overcome, meaning they are not paying attention. There is also nothing more annoying than being in the middle of class and having a phone go off because someone did not silence their phone.
Wow. My Masters work is dismissed in one short post. There goes 12 months of research and consulting experts around the world. (sarcasm intended)
Bill, I understand your frustration with phones going off in the classroom, but you need to find ways to deal with something that is just not going to go away. I've seen some great ideas posted right here on this Ning network. I encourage you to search through the site and you may find something really helpful.
I think the use of cell phones could be quite positive in the classroom. Adjusting the rules to include something of importance to the students can boost the morale of the student body. I have seen cell phones used in the classroom the use of polls. Students text in their answers and the data is shown on a graph for the entire class to see.
At first I didnt get how a cellphone can be useful for educational purpose, but it can be used in alot of way. for example, like podcasting and video storytelling.

cell phones is the powerful tool to use in the classroom as it enhance education. cell phones can be used to record assignment, find definition from dictionaries and for class polls.

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