Cellphones in the classroom

Good afternoon friends!  I am pumped up on this cold and snowy Sunday afternoon.  Just finished reading an article by Kelli Gauthier entitled, “School System my rethink ban of student cell phone use.”  Guess what…it is because of something the Hamilton County Schools in Tennessee heard me say at one of my recent presentations.  Not only am I wowed, but kudos to you Jim Scales for being a visionary leader in a time when it isn’t always popular to go against the grain.  If you would like to read the article, here is the link: http://bit.ly/e3a0dz.

I found the comments most interesting.  I always get passionate about the topic of mobile devices in the classroom.  Here are my comments…as I would just say this again, and again…and AGAIN.

Part 1:

Hello inquiringmind.  First, I am a she and I didn’t say “they are going to use them anyway”…I said “they’re bringing them to school anyway.” I have worked with many school districts across the nation who have implemented mobile devices into their curriculum with much success.  Since I have researched this topic and worked hands-on with schools to infuse these devices, let me give you some data that you aren’t aware of:

1. Mobile devices are helping students to increase their fluency skills greatly.  Our schools are packed with students who aren’t on grade level and can’t read.  Literacy is a huge issue and programs like iRead are turning schools around and increasing literacy and standardized test scores when more traditional avenues have failed.  Here is a link so you can read more: https://sites.google.com/a/eusd.org/eusd-iread/

2.  Schools have had to endure massive budget cuts over the past few years.  Technology is proven to engage and stimulate our students to want to learn content they otherwise aren’t interested in.  Since many of our students come to school each day with these devices (many schools allow cell phones to be brought to school, just not used during instructional time) I believe we should consider utilizing them in many ways.  Have you ever heard of student response systems?  Well, the 20th century model of teaching is that a teacher would lecture from Monday to Thursday and then assess students on Friday.  In the 21st century we can no longer wait for Friday to see if our students have failed.  Equipped with mobile devices a classroom of students can respond to a poll generated by a teacher.  The teacher can then receive instant feedback from them as whether they understood the content or not.   And the cost to faithful taxpayers as yourself…$0.00.  Check out http://polleverywhere.com.

Part 2:

3.  And for @hcirehttae technology is not a fad, neither are mobile devices.  Technology will only evolve.  You may want to research our first U.S. Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra and read his thoughts on mobile devices.  He created a program called “Apps for Democracy” in Washington D.C.  Research how much money he saved DC in one year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivek_Kundra).  If we have decision-makers in our midst such as Mr. Kundra who believe heavily in technology…where do you think this country is going in regard to technology?

Our students have more resources available to them today than you or your parents ever did combined.  And with the mobile device, it is ubiquitous.  Anywhere…anytime with these devices our children can learn.  Equipped with a smart phone like an iPhone, a student has the world’s largest database at their disposal for research, their summer reading books, textbooks, audiobooks, podcasts, a microscope, a scanner, a word processor, a calculator, and we haven’t even scratched the surface with apps!  And yes, there is an app for that…and they are far from watered down.  To be able to use an app like Voice Memos to record a student making a cold read to assess their fluency level, how many words they read per minute (all aligned with state and national standards) and allow them to hear themselves and then self-correct…wow!  And then, with a tap of my finger I can email the voice memo straight to their parent in an effort to bridge the gap between home and school so they can help their struggling reader…wow!

We can no longer debate whether we should or shouldn’t, but rather how.  By the year 2020, 75% of all jobs will have a high saturation of technology.  If we don’t prepare our students for these jobs now by teaching them how to use technology like mobile devices efficiently and successfully in the classroom…we have done them a great disservice.  More data for you here: http://www.getdegrees.com/careers/tips/top-60-jobs-that-will-rock-the-future/

Part 3:

4.  You may also want to research QR codes and how they can revolutionize the classroom (I will just provide you a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayW032sKtj8), how we fare with students globally (countries like China, Africa, Japan and the UK have been using mobile devices for YEARS and with great success.)  We have to prepare our students to compete globally. Research the following national and international schools as well:

The latter is an awesome account from Liz Kolb, the author of, “From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning.”

As an educator, I am not settling, I am trying to find new and innovative ways to engage our children.  If you have not noticed, our students are different, and they learn different.  As result, they often feel disconnected from their teachers of yesteryear.  We must rethink the way we educate our children, if not we may be faced with a permanent underclass, ill-equipped for the future that surely awaits them.

I too, doubted mobile devices in the classroom in the beginning, but after seeing first hand the power of these tools, I am now a strong proponent.  Hopefully, after your research…you will too!


Read the Joan Ganz Cooney Center reports: iLearn, Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning and Learning: is there an app for that?

Have a GREAT Sunday!

Celluarly yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind


2 thoughts on “Cellphones in the classroom

  1. I’ve seen a lot of school programs involving laptops, phones, tablets, PDA’s… A lot of them we’re fantastically successful, making students more involved in discussions, and increasing the quality of their work. Unfortunately, these same devices have led to students using them to play games, go online, etc. when they should be working. I’m interested in seeing which programs have been more effective, and why.

    1. @teknophillia You make want to research Project Tomorrow. Great reading. I find if the lesson involving the mobile devices in meaningful and purposeful, the distractions (games, etc.) are generally an issue.

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