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Why and how to use cell phones for educational purposes?

The profitless to the useful

The cell phone has the same negative reputation may have had social networks, instant messaging or even the Internet in educational institutions: it is only entertainment tools that will distract the young and give them additional means of cheating in class.

Thus, the cell phone to school has often seen the bottom of a locker, backpack or drawer where it was confiscated as the classroom itself. Yet, recently, an article in the Sacramento Bee has focused on American professors who are beginning to advocate for the educational use of cell phones in class.

A discrete interest to begin

One may wonder what motivates teachers to be displayed for the cell used in the classroom in an educational way. Already, Joe Jenkins, chief technology officer for Natomas Unified School District offers this reply: “They (students) want to use the cell phone, they want to send text messages. They are interested in that. So let’s help them to learn how they want to do. “The man also will oversee a pilot project in a class for the 2009-2010 school year with cell phone use in the curriculum. According to the results, officials of the school board could decide to integrate the cellular curriculum next year.

We must also say that the education community is beginning to move. Already some school boards are beginning to remove the ban on cell … for educational purposes only, it goes without saying. Sign of new times for mobile technology in the last Conference on Technology in Education (National Education Computer Conference) held in June 2009 in Washington DC, we found there 13 workshops on the educational use the cell in the classroom. The year before, a single workshop on the subject …

“Normal,” said Joe Wood, who is a science teacher, “cell phones are mini-computers, having the same capabilities that computers could be 10 years ago.” In addition, the teacher notes that the increase of interest in the logic cell is in the educational context. Ultimately, in education, we want to know how to take students to learn, he says. For others, they see opportunities outside of school hours. Indeed, with all phones that have an integrated digital camera, there is opportunity for the student to take a picture outside the confines of the school to integrate with work.

The versatile tool accessible and popular

Liz Kolb, author of “Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education” and a blog on the subject of the use of cell in a pedagogical way, the cell is “Swiss Army Knife” of modern education . Can be used both in class and outside, the unit enables students to make connections between learning and everyday life.

For examples of cell phone use in the classroom increases. Eg:

Joe Wood was using it to make quiz in which students were asked;
they could take pictures for their projects in class and
they created podcasts on scientific subjects.
In Wisconsin, a Spanish teacher gives oral tests to be done in cell
Michigan, a teacher uses the photographic function of cell to organize a treasure hunt with teaching his students
while a teacher in Pennsylvania asks his students to identify pictures in all the times they have to calculate in their lives, etc..
The cell can even be used to meet in class! Joe Wood explains an experience he made in his class as usual in his lecture, they asked students questions. However, instead of responding verbally, students responded from their text messaging, sending their response to the teacher via a website that recovering students’ responses. He then noticed that 100% of its students participated and answered questions while only 25% of them did so verbally. This type of interactivity allows anonymous, according to Liz Kolb, shyer students to answer without the social impacts that may could have called a wrong answer out loud.

Discretion, discretion!

Nevertheless, these ideas of cell phone use in class inspired, certainly, but still marginal at the moment, even incognito. Indeed, Liz Kolb says that for writing his book, several teachers have asked that their classroom experiences are cited anonymously, most are doing on the sly management of the institution where they work.

Thus, there is still some way to go before the cell loses its reputation almost demonic toy technology that serves only to waste his time or cheat. It will further support the positive experiences of cell phone use in class and give tips on how to use the device effectively.

It will also require experts discuss how to standardize and equalize phone use in class. After all, he is a plethora of mobile and inevitably, they are not all the same size, they do not all use the same operating system. Not to mention that some students have no cell.

By cons, this is interesting topic for school boards. While many look back to almost one laptop per student, there would be perhaps a cheaper solution: why not put a cell by student instead? A solution could possibly, who knows?

Gradually, the cell is winning acclaim. It has not yet attained the reputation of other information technology and communication, but it will not be long.