Mobile phones. Lovely, shiny mobile phones. Everyone's got one! Sometimes in the pocket, sometimes in the hand, but most certainly always on our minds, and running our day-to-day lives from a coaster sized circuit board. Ping-ping. Dopamine! Did you see the picture of a cat in bread? His head is IN THE BREAD. Brilliant :) This electronic back-and-forth is what the olden times people call 'conversation'. Don't worry about this word. The old people, like their words, will soon be dead and then it will be just you and your phone. Lovely shiny phone. :)
This shifting communication paradigm brings a number of interesting problems for the world of education. Most profoundly the growing distractibility which affects us all. I remember going to high-school in the early noughties with the latest 'One-to-One' handset in my pocket which didn't provide too much of a distraction at school. I didn't show it off much though as it didn't have snake and What's more, with only 50 scarce and awkward texts a month before blowing the roof off my pay-as-you-go cap, they had to be used strategically and certainly never peppered with emoticons and in a rush under the table during double Maths. Plus who would I even send a text to? Mum? Even she was ignoring my texts back then.
By the time I was working at a school in London 10 years later, phones had come to be seen as the primary obstacle to teaching and learning in the classroom. Confiscations were the order of the day and parents would have to physically haul themselves into school to get the phone out of the sin-bin.
Now, we have come to a clearing in the murky forest of the apps and people are whispering tentatively.... "phones in the classroom...can....be....good." It's true. Used with the right teacher guidance, with the best applications, and with independent student reflection and organisation at the core, phones can be used in the classroom and should be encouraged whenever a student sees an opportunity to do so. Some ideas of how phones can be used are in this video blog below...
And 44 ideas on how to use smartphones in the classroom can be found by clicking the link here. Enjoy!