While unregulated use of cell phones in school is a major problem, some teachers and schools are starting to think creatively about how to use cell phones as a classroom tool. No matter what subject you teach, if you’re thinking about incorporating cell phones in your classroom, there are plenty of opportunities to do just that.
The following steps can help you go from distraction to learning:
Make a plan for how I will use cell phones in my classroom and present it to my principal.
Incorporating cell phones into lesson plans is still relatively new, so you may have to convince your principal that this is a good idea. Write down one or two examples of how you will use the cell phones in your classroom - for example, texting in a foreign language or as a calculator in math.
Lesson Plan Suggestions:
Use cell phones to photograph experiments. Students can use their photos to help them remember exactly what happened in each step of the experiment, which will also be helpful when they type their reports.
Text instructions in the language that is being taught. Ask students to perform tasks, such as find something blue, go to the gym, have a picture taken with a staff member.
Have students record themselves for tests. This is great practice for verbal sections of tests where kids often struggle. Choose the best recorded message and use it to open up class discussion about what the student did well and what he or she needs to improve.
Text or send verbal feedback to students several times each week. These can be sent either from your cell phone or from your computer and will give students quick turnaround on their assignments.
Use Google Earth to highlight different parts of the world. Start by asking each student to find his or her county, street, and house on Google Earth, and then assign other locations outside of each student's city, state, and even country.
Use Flash video on a cell phone to demonstrate a problem. Kids are much more engaged when watching a Flash animation instead of just plain numbers.
Create guidelines for acceptable cell phone use and distribute them to students.
Tell them that using their phones improperly (to cheat, send random text messages, bully, or take inappropriate pictures) in the classroom will not be tolerated. Make sure to have clear consequences if they misuse their phones.
Notify parents of my plan to use cell phones in the classroom.
Keeping parents informed will help answer questions and avoid confusion when their kids start talking about using their cell phones during school.
Divide students into groups to accommodate kids who don't have phones.
Although the majority of high school students have cell phones, some kids either don't have phones or don't have texting on their phones. Dividing them into groups helps solve this problem.
Vary the ways we incorporate cell phones into class work.
The following suggestions could be applied to any subject area:
Copy notes with the camera feature (much less time consuming than using pen and paper)
Input homework reminders as a text message and send to their home computers
Perform internet searches on assigned topics
Record podcasts during class
Conduct research on assigned topics
Blog daily about what they learned in class
Answer questions regarding that day's lesson through a polling Web site to see how well they understood the lesson
Set up reminders to students to study for tests and quizzes
To continue, please sign in to EduGuide's free, nonprofit Community.