ImageWhile tablets and computers are becoming more popular for school application, cell phones are forbidden in most classrooms. Benoit Petit, (https://twitter.com/petitbenoit) a teacher that I’ve seen in conference asked the following question to the audience: What is the difference between tablets and (intelligent) cell phones? In fact, both devices are very similar. They provide access to the Internet, can take pictures, notes, calendar entries and much more with the apps. Another question he asked was: what are the pros and cons of using such devices in classroom. Surprisingly, both pros and cons columns happened to be the same. For example:

Pros:

Allow students to take picture/film (good for quick note taking)

Provide access to the Internet (easy way to get information and to communicate)

Cons:

Allow students to take picture/film (some teachers don’t want to be filmed)

Provide access to the Internet (can be a source of distraction)

 

Then, the teacher gave some counter arguments for the cons.

Allow students to take picture/film (some teachers don’t want to be filmed)

– Today, there are cameras everywhere: In schools, on the street, in public buildings. And pretty much every body has a cell phone outside of class and could film you whenever they want. It is a new reality and accepting that could be a good improvement for classroom. Students could film an important passage in class that they could watch later so they don’t forget. Also, it is easier to control cellphones in class if they are not hidden. Students would simply have to let their phones on their desk and ask if they are allowed to film something or if they can take a picture of the homework assignment written on the board.

Provide access to the Internet (can be a source of distraction)

– Students who are not attentive in class can either gaze at the window, draw in their books and even sleep. Those are the same students who will use their phone to play games or to do anything else only to forget about what is going on in the class.

I agree with his arguments and believe that cell phones in classroom are becoming a new reality. Teachers must not ignore them or forbid them, but they must take advantage of this situation. On top of that, it is free for schools because students already have their own devices.

After the presentation, I investigated a little bit more about different application of cell phones in classroom and found out by reading this study that an increasing number of teachers use cell phones for classroom activity. 

One interesting application that I have found on this website is to use cell phones to get students feedback from voting polls. They suggest using the free website Polls Everywhere to do organize classroom polls. It can either be used for feedback, trivia answers, surveys and more. Socrative is another application for voting polls well explained on this blog article.

This great article lists 40 ways to use cell phones in classrooms. A few of them that have caught my attention were using the camera to film school projects and Google maps to help students with geography. In fact, the possibilities are almost infinite with a little bit of creativity. Let’s not fear this technology and start using it for the best !

 

 

 

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