Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mobile phones in the classroom (from Steve Dembo's Blog)

from Steve Dembo's Blog: http://www.teach42.com/2008/05/06/mobile-phones-in-the-classroom-again/

I’m a high school teacher. Like all high schools, we are dealing with a problem that sucks time, energy, and resources like a black hole: cellphones. We waged a similar battle a few years back with iPods, and although stakes seem much higher now, the fundamental argument is the same. The argument is:
1] cellphones are a distraction2] cellphones present a potential liability in terms of cheating on tests3] cellphones are a distraction…So I’m asking for some insight on how to sell this to an administration that is overwhelmed with a hundred more important things, and to a school board that feels that two $500 computers are twice as good as one $1,000 machine. What’s the answer?
I’m so fed up with these arguments. Paper clips are a distraction. Spiral notebooks are a distraction. And as we’ve seen recently, students certainly do NOT need a cell phone to cheat on an exam.
So off the top of my head, I decided to rattle off a few things that cell phones could be good for.
Such as…1) Check the spelling/definition of a word2) Research a topic3) Look up reference images4) Pull up maps (even with satellite imagery)5) Document a science lab with built in digital camera/video6) Fact check on the fly7) Mail questions to the teacher that they might be embarrassed to ask Classroom response system9) Take quizzes10) Record and/or listen to podcasts