Mobile Phones in the classroom

Posted: May 24, 2009 in e-learning, elearning, mobile learning, technology

Up till this year and during this academic year I have had a sign in my classroom “Mobile Phone must be switched off” a common notice I would imagine.

I have had to live with the under desk texting of the girl who, despite being sat on the front row thinks I can’t see her txting “l8r my boo xxxx” to her boyfriend, and the Facebook comments “awesome vid” that could have only been posted during class.

But lets look at the facts :-

A recent survey of about 300 college students found that 27 percent own a smart phone as compared to the national average of 19 percent for working adults. Research also found that 99.7 percent of students have a mobile communications device and the rates of sending text messages, e-mail, photos and videos are increasing.

So when I discovered SMS poll, I thought lets see what benefits we can get from using Mobile phones in class.

The students had an overwhelming positive reaction to SMS Poll and despite them having to pay for the text message, enthused and waited on baited breath for their votes to register.

After this positive response, I took to thinking what else we could use Mobile Phones for and here is my list and thoughts:-

  • Photo images posted to Blogs (VLe) from field trips.
  • Photo of class room board (quick snap shot of the board when I have waffled and drawn a diagram, formula etc)
  • Phones with GPs for field work location (eg picture of a particular geographical feature) upload to Google Maps then placed in coursework.
  • Record and listen to a lecture. Text notes while watching a class video and post it to a social net work for peer review.
  • Video to record practical work/demonstration to act as a reminder for the student during write up of practical.
  • Research facts/quick reference (for example,I have used it to find facts in a room without Internet access, I couldn’t remember Pythagoras Theorem, (bad teacher) this was quickly sorted using my G1.

Technology is moving fast, access to information takes seconds, the multi functionality of phones now make them as useful as any PC, my current smart phone must be hundreds/thousands of times more powerful than my first computer the Sinclair ZX81, maybe we as educators should be using this to our and our students best advantage.

So maybe we should remove the sign, and replace it with “Take out your phones and Switch On “



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