Students are not allowed to use cellphones in schools in my country. I have just read this article: "Four Ways to Use Cell Phones in the Classroom" on this link: http://www.pearsonschoolsystems.com/blog/?p=639

Any suggestions on how to convince the Ministry of Education in my country of the positive effect that its use can have on teaching and learning?

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wow. After reading some of the literature, the posts here and the blogs mentioned above (thank you), I think cell phone usage in the classroom can be a creative venture for learning and would love to observe an engaged classroom session with them. I like the idea of building a community with texting (see post above: http://cellphonesinlearning.blogspot.com/) yet I also am cautious about integrating phones in the classroom because the art of classroom conversation, i.e., discussion, is an integral learning activity which appears to have been diminished to the point of extinction. My work / focus revolves around the online classroom, the art of facilitating learning, discussion forums and building learning communities. I'll need to explore the use of cell phones for this modality as well.

Sharon, I am happy that you are willing to try our the cell phone in the classroom. I can see your point of the oral discussion becoming extinct but it doesn't have to disappear. Since we are creative educators we can include it in our lessons.

Teachers everywhere are using cell phones in education and they have principles in place and consequences regarding behavior, not tools. 

Maria,

I see your point-of-view but it is worth the try.

I have no problem allowing students to use their cell phones.  I think (just like anything else) that they need to be taught when and how cell phones are appropriate.  It may be a similar phenomenon like when students first started using calculators; they needed to be taught when they could use them

That being said, I really like polleverywhere.com as well.  I use it for bellringers and for exit slips; sometimes I use it in the middle of a lecture to break up the monotony if it's a long one.  It gives the students that "quick fix" of technology, then I can pull them back in for the lesson.

Julie,

Quite an interesting way to break long lectures. As educators we need to get with the time because technology brings the world to our finger tips.

Clarita,

See this information released by the Speak Up survey to start making your case with the powers that be.  Skim the page, click on the infographic, or check out the pdf for more detailed findings.  The survey results can help to state a case for what students are hungry for.  Of course, no one is advocating that we let students dictate curricula or instructional methods, but I do think that it may speak volumes about the disconnect they experience between how they access information and learn outside of school versus inside.

Hi Tim,

Thanks for your suggestions. I will be checking out the link that you sent me.

I, too, have been exploring different uses of cell phones in classes.  I went to a technology professional development last year for educational leaders.  The whole day was devoted to using different applications in class, including phone apps.

My school district also has a policy about cell phone use, but it was put in place when cell phones were just phones.  I think the policies need to be revisited since cell phones are now mini computers.   If you ask our students if they have a computer at home, many of our district's students still respond that they do not. However, if you ask the students if they have internet access, they answer poitively - and most of them carry it in their pocket. 

At the conference, I was amazed at how many teachers are using  cell phones for quick surveys, comprehension checks, exit slips, etc. 

The discussion made me wonder how parents feel about using the cell phones they are supplying for their children as a school tool.  If teachers are requiring it, then is the school obligated to provide the technology? If not, what happens with the students who don't have cell phones or extended applications on their phones? 

Hi Ellen,

Thanks for your response. I believe that the parents would have no problems with their children using cellphones in school since they would be using it for educational purposes.

Clarita,

We are moving to a 1:1 laptop initiative in our high school for the upcoming 2012-13 school year. It is a major undertaking for our high school and district.  Interestingly, with every student having a laptop being used during the day, it only makes sense to allow the instructors to utilize cell phones in the instructional process.  How would you describe the opinions of your coworkers?  Would they be for it or against it if you took a poll?

I'm reminded of a DMLcentral.net post back in January by South Central L.A. teacher Antero Garcia: "youth interest in mobile use runs almost completely counter to adult provisional use of mobile devices." i.e. students are only allowed to use mobile devices during passing periods, breaks, and lunch when they can interact with their friends face-to-face.

I was recently in a webinar with Antero where he talked about using mobile devices in his classroom. Thought he made a good point that when an authority figure tells students it's OK to take out their smartphones because they'll be using them in the lesson, the students recognize that there is a context shift. The teacher is not giving permission to be distracted, they're giving students the opportunity to leverage a familiar tool in order to stay engaged.

As a follow-up, one of the participants in that webinar--Paul Oh--asked a really good question: "How do we build our case that youth need to be given opportunities to create and not just consume?" You can follow that conversation on his Digital Is post.

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