Since cell phones have found their way into the back pockets of so many students, teachers have been faced with the dilemma of whether to embrace them or ban them altogether. Some believe that if students have cell phones and they are given educational reasons to use them, then they are less likely to be disruptive or distracting. In an effort to support teachers who want to embrace cell phones, here’s a brief list of suggestions for ways they can be used for the greater good.
Audio recording lessons. Cell phones can be a great tool for students who are auditory learners or students who simply require more repetition to grasp new material. Audio recordings give students the control to replay entire lessons or parts that were missed or are difficult to grasp the first time around.
Taking pics of projects. Whether it’s a work in progress or a final piece, students can use their phones to take photos of their work to add to reports, build portfolios, or share with friends or parents. Photos can also provide a digital backup if projects are lost or damaged.
Video recording experiments or group activities. Video is great for science experiments and small group activities in which everyone has a role. Students can them share their videos with the teacher or the class. This gives the teacher a more thorough look at the work and allows grading to occur outside of the class period.
Receiving reminders. Personal calendars managed by students or whole class reminders pushed out by the teacher can help kids stay organized and can prompt them to study for tests, bring a project to school, or remember their gym clothes.
Listening to music. A lot of students listen to music at home when they study to help themselves focus. This study strategy can be even more beneficial in a noisy classroom. Allowing a student to use headphones or ear buds to listen to their own music while working can be a good way to establish trust with a student, and it allows teachers to maintain a quiet working environment for those who need it.
However you decide to incorporate cell phones into your classroom activities, just remember that not every student may be fortunate enough to have one. So, if you’re going to require pictures or video recordings, you need to make photo and video equipment available for everyone in order to create an equitable environment.
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