Friday, September 9, 2011

Smartphones in the Classroom

This past Saturday I made a purchase that has turned my little world upside down.  I bought an iPhone and it is fabulous. 
I don't know if you can be in love with a phone but I feel that we are on the verge of something special.  I was able to early upgrade from my Droid which is great because I was about to get our relationship annulled.  Laugh if you want but my Android powered phone was a horrible investment.  NEVER BUY THE FIRST GENERATION OF ANY PHONE. However, I found a great solution for old phones in the classroom.

Monday night I noticed that my old phone had a Twitter notification.  I realized the notification was not there earlier. Despite not having phone service, my Droid is still a working connection to the Internet when wi-fi is available. That means that all of my apps, Pandora, Twitter, Facebook - THE INTERNET, etc. are still available. 

I know that this week is about management and organization but I need you to do something - START A SMARTPHONE DRIVE at your school. You can use these tiny computers in a multitude of ways:
  • watch on demand educational videos
  • do fast on the spot research
  • practice multiplication tables
  • communicate with friends about ongoing projects
  • fact check
  • add content specific bookmarks to each phone
  • camcorder
  • digital cameras!!!!
  • SMART makes several great interactive student response systems that teachers can use to deliver assessments and gage the progress of student learning in class. However, not all schools are lucky enough to have enough of these class sets to go around. In cases like this, more and more teachers are turning to web based solutions like Poll Everywhere. The teacher places an assessment or discussion question online, and the students can text their responses to it for an immediate survey of a class opinion. Students with smartphones and data plans can log straight on to the website and answer without paying for a text. Teachers can set up a class of 32 students for free, Similar services include Text The Mob and SMS Poll.
I hope you are starting to think of ways to engage your students with old and current Smartphones. The tools listed above only need wi-fi, not an active phone plan so start asking parents to donate their old phones and power cords today. The list above is simply a starting point. I cannot wait to hear how you use cell phones in your class.  Which bring us to today's...

READER RESPONSE: How can Smartphones benefit your class? Please share your cell phone drive success story.

Lastly, I hope you enjoyed this week of management and organization. Come back next week for Content Collaboration. 

Have an awesome weekend.

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