The war seems to rage on about whether or not to allow phones in schools. Some people see them as an educational tool, while others wonder why cell phones are even given to kids.
Many teachers in OHSU find that using cell phones is almost a necessity. Mrs. Webb finds that she uses her phone to “call students and parents in her courses, to tutor students over the phone, [and] text students reminders.” Mrs Layton explains “ Actually, it is sometimes much more difficult to contact students without cell phones.” At first when Mrs Layton was asked if she used cell phones in her class, she laughed and exclaimed “I teach online!”. So teaching online and using cell phones in class go hand in hand. But what about schools that don’t teach online?
Mrs. Scaccia from Franklin D. Roosevelt High School explains her theory “A student with a cell phone is an uninterested student, one with a short attention span who cares more about socializing than education. ” Teachers at public schools find this an almost universal truth. Even our own dear Mrs. Layton who once taught at a public school, asked students to put away their cell phones when in class.
But if Cell phones were to be used in public school classrooms, how would they be used? In Clarkstown High School South in West Nyack, NY, they tried using cell phones in three major ways; “1) as an audience response system, 2) as a research tool, and 3) as a tool for collecting evidence of student work through photographs and video recordings”. What the high school did was they put together this cell phone program, and they had a meeting with the parents to get an okay from them before trying to ingrain cell phones into the cirurium. They also made considerations for students who didn’t have cell phones and other such technology, by providing ways to do the same assignments without cell phones. Sometimes they would provide a cell phone for those students to use for those assignments, and other times they’d give them a way to do it on paper/simple typing program. Clarkstown explains “it is important that students without cell phones participate in the process and learning. Educators should make them feel part of the group and that they are making valuable contributions to the conversation.
But other than these minor setbacks, they are finding that this is a great way to help students become familiar with this technology. “An important 21st century skill students should have is the ability to use available resources to locate information.” Explains Clarktown “One goal of a 21st century classroom is to transform students from passive to active learners. A step toward achieving this goal is to have students become researchers.” Mrs .Layton also admitted that she would like to use twitter in public school classrooms.
In an A.P. Chemistry class at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, Mr. Musallam is using cell phones in his classrooms in a very unique way. When students first walk in, he sends out a question to his students, and the first one to answer back gets a prize. Then also when students have questions about something, he comes over and records himself answering those questions, then uploads it to the class website so all the students can have access to that instantly, and also he doesn’t have to explain over and over to each student group. When he has polls, and the students can say which question they think is the right answer, and he puts it up as a poll, and then talks about the poll. “I want it to be as rich and as visual as possible. I want them to see things, not just know it.” Mr. Musallam explains.
Although no winner is clear in the fight of cell phones in classrooms, there is one thing clear. Cell phones are here to stay, whether we like it or not.
KATHERINE ALBERS. “Texting in School? Not Quite, but School District Adjusting Cell Phone Policy.” Naples Daily News. © 2009 Naples Daily News, 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/jul/20/texting-school-not-quite-school-district-adjusting/
Engel, George, and Tim Green. “Cell Phones in the Classroom: Are We Dialing up Disaster?.” TechTrends. March 2011: 39-45. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 30 Nov 2012.
Tina Barseghian. “MindShift.” MindShift RSS. KQED, 10 May 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/05/how-teachers-make-cell-phones-work-in-the-classroom/>.