With mobile technology becoming an inseparable part of so many people’s daily lives, the question for teachers has become not how do you prevent cheating in class, but how to harness the power of cell phones and computers to promote learning and creative thinking. In an article yesterday the Associated Press profiled some creative case uses of teachers using cell phones in the classroom:
Teachers who have incorporated cell phones into their classes say that most students abide by the rules. They note that cheating and bullying exist with or without the phones, and that once they are allowed, the inclination to use them for bad behavior dissipates.
“Kids cheat with pen and paper. They pass notes,” said Kipp Rogers, principal of Passage Middle School in Newport News, Va., “You don’t ban paper.”
Rogers started using cell phones as an instructional tool a couple of years ago, when he was teaching a math class and was short one calculator for a test. He let the student use his phone instead. Twelve classes, including math, science and English, now use them. Students do research through the text message and Internet browser on some phones. Teachers blog. Students use the camera function to snap pictures for photo stories and assignments.
Classes often work in groups in case some students don’t have phones.
While cell phones are largely still viewed as a nuisance to classroom learning, there is a broad acknowledgment that things will have to change:
Even districts with tough anti-use policies acknowledge they will eventually need to change.
“We can’t get away from it,” said Bill Husfelt, superintendent of Bay County District Schools, a Florida Panhandle district of 27,000 students where cell phones aren’t allowed in school, period. “But we’ve got to do a lot more work in trying to figure out how to stop the bad things from happening.”
Read more about the possiblities of incorporating cell phones into classroom learning from the Associated Press.