I know there was an earlier discussion about using cell phones in the classroom, but it is an area I'd like to explore with my district.  Right now I need to create buy in from administrators.  They'd especially like to hear from any teachers/districts that have successfully integrated the use of cell phones for educational purposes.  I've already brought data and lesson ideas to the table - now they want to hear first hand experiences.
If you can help me out with this, please reply!

Tags: cell, phones

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I do not have direct experience with Cell phones in the classroom, but i can see how it could be effective. Do you have your data and lessons posted online (on a wiki or shared document)? I would love to see what you have.
No, I haven't posted anything to a wiki or shared document. You interested in working on something like this collaboratively?
What is your position at your school?
I am a supervisor of instructional technology for a K-12 district in Northern NJ. We have 8 schools and about 4500 students. We are not for lack of a better word "there yet" regarding the use of cell phones in the classroom. It is an area of interest for me. I am still working on creating a culture that embraces such technologies here.
I am also and am looking forward to using Twitter.com next school year.

Our school, just this year, has given the "ok" for students to bring their own technology to school. And teachers are being encouraged to utilize that (keeping in mind we do not yet have wifi in place on campus). Some of the classes have had the students use their phones as stop watches (in physics classes) or to take pictures for things. It is difficult line to cross because in order to embrace technology, like cell phones, we are forced to give up older standards like "undivided attention", "authority over communication", and things like this. If we are going to allow cell phones, we need to accept the fact that many students might be texting, etc.

I almost think it would be important to have a required course, maybe early on in education, or freshmen year, going over the appropriate use of technology. Students do not necessarily need to know "how" to use technology because they have been using it since they were very young, but rather how to appropriately use technology. They will know how to use technology as an individual, but probably not how to apply their technology to problem solving, or for collaborative work. During this transition, I foresee new types of discipline problems because we can't have a double standard - wanting them to use technology, and then punishing them for it, the lines need to be clear.
Good point, Cassy. A definite catch-22.
I too would love to integrate appropriate cell phone use in the classroom, but I know it's asking for trouble.
That's where I am. I know it could be used appropriately. I agree with Cassy that we need to teach the appropriate use if we want it to be effective. Right now, kids at my district are texting during class inappropriately without the teachers' knowledge. I only know because I'll catch them in the bathroom texting or kids in my church's youth group will mention it when we're doing things. This made me think that if we embrace the new technologies, like phones, teach appropriate use, and take a close look at our policy, we'll have fewer issues with the phones.
You know the old way of thinking for a kid - being a rebel makes it more fun?
Well if a school isn't willing to invest resources into teaching students appropriate use (as in my scenario), then what is a teacher left to do?
As for my school's policy, basically, mobile phones are forbidden in class (kind of an unwritten rule though). However, I'm willing to bend the rules for the benefit of my students.
Kids aren't the only ones who can rebel! ;-)
What if you started accepting "extra credit" homework assignments using phones? That way, it doesn't make someone's grade worse and it's technically not breaking your policy. Then take the data from those assignments (participation, quality of work, etc) to your administrators and see if they're willing to work with you. My administration greatly supports anything that increases student engagement.
Extra credit? I have to fight with my students just to do the regularly assigned homework (unfortunately, this isn't part of their overall average and almost all are solely motivated by grades). I even have an incentives program where I offer daily prizes and and monthly achievement awards (the winners of which are posted on our class blog). Yet, this still motivates only a minority (again, it's all about grades with these guys). Just the nature of the beast where I work (which is in Saudi Arabia, by the way).
It sounds like you work in a very nice place where they actually care about whether students learn or not (not just talking the talk, but actually walking the walk).
Anyway, please don't mind my ranting; just letting off some steam. Do appreciate your suggestions though.
I was having chronic tardies from my middle school students coming to class after lunch. Our school is on a silent bell system and they had a legitimate excuse not knowing when to come to class. I had all students take out their cell phones and set an alarm 5 minutes before class started. Problem solved. Unfortunately, this violates our school policy, as the students had to take the phones out of their pockets to silence the alarms.
Klista, My Supt. has given us the greenlight to try to utilize cellphones in classrooms. I have a few teachers that are eager to give it a try, but we haven't had any stories to share with you yet. I will let you know when we have played with it a bit. It is a great idea. We have to let go of the idea that the students will just use them to cheat.



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