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Bulldog Tech Challenge #5: Cell Phones in the Classroom

Getting Started

  • Before using students devices in the classroom, learn about the mobile technologies and interests of your students by administering a student survey. In this survey, inquire about their own cell phones capabilities, plans, and interests in using their cell phones.
  • Before using students devices in the classroom, have a conversation with your supervisor and receive approval, particularly if students will be taking photos or video as part of an assignment.
  • Teach students about digital appropriateness and safety. Continue to remind students of cell phone safety and appropriate use each time they use them in the class. This includes reminding them of the school system's Acceptable Use Policy for BYOD as well as individual classroom rules.
    • “Many teachers mentioned that their discipline problems around cell phones decreased once they began setting up rules and cell phone safety guidelines and using the phones for learning, rather than spending class time taking them away and policing their use” (Kolb, 2011, p. 2).
  • If students do not have cell phones, group or pair up students so that there is one cell phone per group.
    • Frame statements in a way that suggests all students have phones, but maybe just not with them that day.
  • Prolonged Impact: “[Once teachers began allowing]...their students to use cell phones in instruction, the students began to suggest learning activities that they could do with their cell phones” (Kolb, 2011, p. 3).

13 Ideas for Using Cell Phones in the Classroom

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Podcast: Use cell phones to record debates on various topics, "we are there" radio broadcasts, or simulated interviews with historical figures.
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Encourage students to replace their hard copy student planners with their cell phone.
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Embrace the use of QR codes in and out of the classroom for tutorials, real world examples, links to extra help, scavenger hunts and much more.
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Use Quizlet for interactive vocabulary practice in any content area.
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Use TodaysMeet to promote backchanneling, summarizing and other types of critical discussions all in 140 characters or less.
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Encourage real-time student participation in class with tools such as Poll Everywhere and Socrative.
  • Click here for a Socrative tutorial and more ideas.
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Find a good dictionary app for your subject area and encourage students to use it.
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Have students publish their ideas using Padlet.
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Use Google Forms to administer assessments, surveys and exit tickets.
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Utilize Google Drive (app) for note-taking.
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Have students record observations, take photos and document their learning on a field trip via their cell phones. They can then share those encounters via a presentation, on SchoolFusion or with a more advanced platform such as Edmodo.
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Have students use their cell phones to capture their everyday interactions with the content they are learning. Students can then share those encounters on SchoolFusion or with a more advanced platform such as Edmodo.
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Engage students with Discovery Education's educational digital content in all subject areas. Students can also interact with robust tools such as the Board Builder.
  • Click here to learn more about Discovery Education's resources.
  • Click here to learn more about Board Builder.

Additional Resources

  • Click here for my library of mobile learning resources on Diigo.