Thursday, May 15, 2008

Coming October 2008! Liz's Book

I officially have an October 2008 release date for my book Toys to Tools: Connecting Student's Cell Phones to Education. ISTE is the publisher, and I hope the book is a starting point for thoughtful discussions around cell phones and student learning. Additionally the book is packed with lots of ideas of how to use basic Cell Phones for learning activities in all content areas. Some of my favorite educators who have tried cell phones in learning are included in the book.

The reason why I decided to write the book.
About 3 years ago I began looking for books, research, and articles on how cell phones can become learning tools. What I discovered was that there were very few resources. I found one article by Marc Prensky that had a positive perspective, but most resources concentrated cell phones being distracting or even harmful to the learning environment. I found this disheartening, and frankly one-sided. The media seemed to really pick up on the negative and ignore potential positives from cell phones and student use, therefore I decided to write down my ideas and learning activities that I had developed around cell phones with secondary students. The book is meant to be informative, to give a different perspective on cell phones and student use as well as practical, a "how to" for using cell phones in learning.

I welcome any feedback, suggestions, or input after reading.


Charlie Roy said...


Sounds great! I'll be buying a copy.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I look forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. This is a wonderful resource. I apologize if you have already discussed this (as I suspect you probably have), but could you describe, or point me to archives or other resources, strategies for using cell phones in an education setting where students are not using their own phones. I want to incorporate web applications, texting, etc. but I can't ask my students to use their own phones. I teach an after-school program with low income students. I would not mind students using my personal phone (to a point) - or showing a group how to use some of the applications on my phone, but I have about 20 students at one time this would seriously limit how many students can actually get first hand experience (and importantly, more than once). I do not think that I can get phones (particularly with texting and web access!) through the museum I work at. How do people get around this?


Liz Kolb, Ph.D. said...

Hi Karli
Thanks for reading the blog and for considering using them as a learning tool with your students! Probably the best example that I have of a teacher using a single cell phone with many students is Pat Sattler at St. Joseph K-8 school in Trenton, MI. She uses her own cell phone with 100 students for podcasting (Radio Theater). They take turns using it to capture interviews, observations, do skits, and other fun activities. She couples with hipcast.

Some ideas to consider...
1) take advantage of resources such as ChaCha and GOOGL where you can text or ask a question from the whole group and get a text back. This way you do not have to give up your phone to any students, but they still see how you can use the cell phone for research.

2) Not sure what you are doing with the students, but you could ask them to look for "significant" things in the museum (or where ever you may be) that should be documented. Then they can call you over and you can take a picture of it (send it to Flickr or some of other public/private posting site to publish).

3) You could use the online service where you send text messages to yourself (which will show up at a certain time). You could send some "informational" messages to arrive at certain times when you are teaching, they could ask the students a question or tell them to go find something (like a scavenger hunt). Therefore when your cell phone rings, a different student (or group of students)gets to read the text message and find the answer.

Anyone else have ideas for Karli?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Liz -
I just added web and text messaging to my cell phone account. I was setting up student accounts in our Ning group and saw that we could post pictures from cell phones. That is when I *really* realized that you can send messages/pictures to email accounts. So now I have a couple students take pictures during some of our activities, and then send it to our Ning group. They can see the images immediately in our Ning site. They were impressed! Next I will have them send images to our flickr account.
more later!

Anonymous said...

- forgot to add that the pictures will be used in a couple different ways; as the students learn image editing, for use in presentations, voicethreads, and their Ning Blogs. I'm not just taking pictures for fun. We will be using them.

Disclaimers and Other Information about this blog. The information on the blog may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up to date. The opinions expressed on the blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of anyone or any institution associated with the author. Links to external sources in the blog posts are provided solely as a courtesy to our blog visitors. All of the links on the sidebar under "recommended links" are links that the author believes to possibly have benefit in K-12 teaching and learning. All other sidebar links are related to cell phones and/or education but not necessary recommended as a K-12 learning resource by the author, some may be sponsor links and/or paid for image/banner ads. The author does not do paid reviews for her blog posts about web resources.Please contact Liz at for any inquires regarding this blog.
Creative Commons License Cell Phones in Learning by Liz Kolb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at