In my current school it is against policy for students to have mobile phones on them. Students have 2 options. Either they do not bring the phone into school which is unlikely as many of them catch busses into school. Or they store their phones in their lockers on arrival at school. What in reality happens is most of the students carry their phone with them anyway and just make sure teachers don’t catch them. What boggles me is the fact that my school has spent a lot of money on buying Chromebooks for classrooms when the vast majority have a computer in their pocket that can do most things a Chromebook can do. Some even better.
A World of information at your finger tips
Granted some of the information on the internet is unreliable and bogus but the internet is a source of incredible information. Whats better is that students have access to this within seconds with the help of their phones. If a student has a question or problem, we as educators encourage our students to work out the answers themselves. What better reference material is better than the internet? Students can find interactive demonstrations, videos, pictures and more to help them. The teacher can help students with this by guiding them towards websites which are reliable and accurate.
Teaching students to use technology effectively
With every new class I get, it never ceases to amaze me at just how poor students are at finding information online. But is this really any surprise? Outside of I.C.T lessons are teachers educating children on how to Google correctly? Unlikely. Most students use technology to aid their studies when they are doing homework. Yet without any classroom practise about how to research correctly, it is unsurprising when work comes back copy and pasted from Wikipedia. In such a technological World we should be facilitating the learning of research as much as possible. By teaching our students how to use technology correctly within lessons we are giving them a life skill which will aid their learning across every subject.
Using apps within the classroom
I use a wide range of apps in my teaching. In particular I use GoogleClassroom and Socrative a lot. The only downside to these programmes is that if I want to use them within lessons, I have to wait for my students to all get a Chromebook from the cupboard, sign into their accounts, go onto the website, and sign in to the website. This all takes time and disrupts the flow of the lesson. So much so that unless I have an extended task which I want the students to do on the Chromebooks, I don’t use these applications as much as I would like. Mobile phones are always connected and always available for use. If I want my students to do a quick quiz for assessment they can click on the Socrative app. If I want them to check out an article I have found online they click on the GoogleClassroom app and there it is. Technology is best used when it causes as little disruption as possible. Mobile phones are able to provide this.
The bottom line
Many teachers and parents will disagree but from my perspective, schools should absolutely allow mobile phones in lessons. There will need to be strict guidelines ensuring they are used correctly and not misused however, I believe the payoff is well worth the early effort. Imagine if teachers no longer had to photocopy vast amount of pages, quizzes were marked automatically and extension tasks were available to students at all times. Mobile phones in lessons can facilitate all this and more. Whether we like it or not the World is becoming more and more technologically dependant. Sheltering students from this is not helping them in the long run.
Do you like your students using mobile phones in your lesson? Let me know in the comments