Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cell phones Part 2

Education Week: Teachers Using Cellphones for Classroom Lessons

Here is another article showing some great innovation in the classroom using cellphones. Change for change's sake is not a good thing. But resisting change for its own sake is just as futile. I like the message in this article. These teachers have embraced the change by finding the positives and making cellphones tools for learning instead of fighting the losing battle keeping them out of schools. The comment of one principal, "Kids cheat with pen and paper. They pass notes, you don't ban paper." is so apropos to so many issues with which our country deals not just in education. We, as a society, tend to react and and ban stuff whenever some horrific tragedy occurs. After Columbine, legislation dictated that schools cannot ban cellphones in school. But in the years since, schools have tried everything possible to prevent cellphones just shy of banning them, namely, not allowing them to be used, seen, turned on, or whatever. Despite all these use bans and discipline rules, cellphone possession and use have continued to increase in schools. Some students secretly use them in class, to cheat, or to socialize.

To prevent this, teachers could use a radically new technique [dripping sarcasm], engage their students in the subject matter. How many of us have endured endless hours of foreign language instruction memorizing vocabulary words? How enjoyable and how effective was that? These teachers are giving students the assignment to photograph examples of the words around campus and share with one another on their cell phones. When students are engaged with the teaching and learning, and the teacher is providing proper supervision, cheating and other distractions will decrease. Cellphones may not be the next greatest thing in teaching and learning. But they are here and schools do not have to buy them. Let's use them to enhance learning in the classroom instead of being a distraction.Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,