Yesturday, Dean Shareski invited me to watch the 13-14 year old students from Craik School in Craik, SK. present about their experiences using cell phones in their language arts classroom. Their teacher Carla Dolman was asked by the school's principal to turn student's cell phones which was an annoyance in the school, into a learning tool. Carla took the risk and sat down with her students and put together a plan for integrating cell phones into their classroom learning experiences. Together they came up with rules and ideas for the cell phone integration. They used their cell phones for everything from schedules, to text messaging assignments, to literature circle activities. What an absolute privilege it was to be part of this presentation! Thank you. Here is a link to the presentation on Ustream.
A few things from the presentation that skeptics might find surprising:
1) No students violated the rules set up for the cell phone use. I think they were too busy learning with them to worry about abusing their privilege!
2) The teacher, Carla, enjoyed learning about student cell phone culture and embraced the new knowledge by using it in her assignments (such as the bluetooth function that her students taught her).
3) While there was a split on whether students found the cell phones to "enhance" their learning, they all seemed to agree that cell phones helped with motivation because they made the assignments more "fun"!
4) Students view cell phones as kind of a private diary
5) They had many discussions of adult misuse and abuse with cell phones.
6) The students were well aware of the difference between text message "lingo" and proper English grammar.
7) While initially the parents were more skeptics than proponents, they soon began to change their viewpoints as they witnessed the learning activities with cell phones.
8) The students learned about their cell phone plans in order to participate in the class activities.
9) While not all students had cell phones, they were still able to participate through group projects (where only one cell phone was required per group).
10) Carla will continue to use cell phones in learning and wants to focus more on video and images with cell phones!
I would also like to add that I think these students were really excited to be on the cutting edge of technology in schools! If you are interested in learning more about Carla's project please see Dean's website.
Thank you again!
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Cell Phones in Learning by Liz Kolb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at cellphoneseinlearning.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cellphonesinlearning.com.