To Cell or Not to Cell? That is the Question

Tech Task #7

English: Evolution Directions of Mobile Device

English: Evolution Directions of Mobile Device (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In last week’s live session of ECMP 355 Liz Kolb presented the idea of integrating mobile devices into the classroom. As with all our previous speakers Liz presented the class with numerous ways that we could incorporate mobiles into different aspects of teaching. Liz’s views on including and encouraging the use of mobiles is similar to Will Richardson, who explains in his TEDtalks session “Why School?”, that schools must step into the 21st century and start integrating rather than banning the use of mobiles in schools. However, as teachers integrate technology, teachers must also take the time to teach responsible citizenship to students and like everything there students must learn that there is a time and a place for everything.

What really stuck with me about Liz’s presentation is the use of QR codes. Prior to her presentation I noticed that these codes were everywhere, but I possessed little understanding of their use or value in and out of schools.

English: Version 1 QR code example

English: Version 1 QR code example (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

QR codes are a very versatile tool for elementary and high school teachers. For example, I can see using the QR codes to include more information on documents. But what I see as a real benefit with the codes is to help bridge the gap between the school and home. I teach in a Franchophone school, where all classes are taught in French except for English. Sometimes non-French speaking parents feel that they can’t help their child study for dictées (spelling test). However, by including QR codes parents can connect to audio links  from home. For older students, I can see how a QR codes could be used to help absent students catch up on missed lessons. In addition, students who need more time to understand concepts can return and review lessons as needed. (This is what I especially appreciate about on-line learning.)

In addition to the QR codes, I think that there is endless potential to use cellphones in the classroom. For example, in one of my earlier posts I talked about my Grade 8 and 9 final project where I’ve asked the students to create a digital story,  I suggested that they might want to record videos on their phones. Smart phones are great because they are for the most part a complete tool box in something that fits in your hands. Students have access to these tools if we allow them to BYOD.

An other tool that I really like and plan to make use of is Remind101. I often send mass text to students to remind them of deadlines or events. So rather than use mass texts, I will use Remind101 to reach students in a more efficient way. Remind1o1 is useful that I have passed on links to their homepage to all my colleagues, including the school secretary.

Some of the tools I plan to use include in my furure classroom:

  • QR codes
  • Remind101
  • Smartphones including all their possible programs

These are not the only possible uses for mobiles in the classroom. Please visit Liz’s home page and browse. She provides educators with lesson plans, research, and so much more.

CELUSEI plan to order Liz’ser book “Cellphones in the Classroom” I think that it will prove to be a great resource.

She has a few more books listed on her blog, just click the link to get you to the books.

I hope that you will find her blog a valuable teacher resource, I sure do. And I am really looking forward to seeing how I can incorporate cells into my classroom culture.

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