Cell phones are everywhere and it is only a matter of time before they are used in the classroom for instruction. They are present in the classroom now, but in most
classrooms, it is a tool to get the student in trouble by texting instead of paying attention in class. It is a logical step to bring them out of the pockets and under the desk to use them as an interactive tool in the classroom.
The next question is how. As I Science teacher I used a great resource called Wiffiti. It is a program that can have text from cell phones displayed on a larger screen such as a computer screen or smart board. Texts appear on the board and as new texts come in, older text fade and disappear. In class we would have brainstorming texts at the beginning of a new topic. Students would text ideas about what the next topic will be or if we have a problem based learning assignment, about how to solve the problem.
One of the drawbacks of using cell phones in class is that not all students have or are allowed to have cell phones, especially younger students. I have only done this with 7th and 8th graders and most of them had cell phones. Usually how I would compensate for this is to assign a certain number of students to a cell phone. Who ever owned the cell phone would be the only one to handle it, but the other students would meet and brainstorm and then decide what to text. It is a great collaborative tool.
Another draw back is not being able to control what a student texts. I personally have never had this problem. At the beginning of the school year I send a permission slip home to the parents allowing their student to use the cell phone for academic use in class, and also make them aware of consequences should they misuse this privilege. What I have found is that the students are so excited about using their cell phones they try not to abuse it and encourage their classmates to do the same. This may not always be the case for everyone, so keep that in mind if this method is implemented.
Overall, smart phones are here to stay. As Educators it can be beneficial to use this tool in the classroom to engage students and teach them that it is not just for texting their friends during class.
Here is a link for more information on wiffiti.
Cell phones in the classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://teachingtoday.glencoe.com/howtoarticles/cell-phones-in-the-classroom.
2010 horizons report :the k12 edition. (2010, March 30). Retrieved from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon-k12-2010/chapters/technologies.
Stanno, r. (2010, March 30). Cell phones in the classroom? wiffiti says yes!. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6727431.htm.