Using cell phone for class room instruction can be a double edged sword. It’s a great way to increase student participation and productivity. Yet at the same time, these very gadgets can turn into entertainment devices if the lesson is boring.
Jennifer Carey has suggested a few good ideas to effectively use cell phones in the classroom for learning in her article - Four Smart Ways to Use Cell Phones in Class. These points which were initially discussed in Teaching with Smart Phones are a useful guide for any educator.
Conducting a quiz on Poll Everywhere can be fun. It’s a free app for an audience of 40, exceeding which, a payment has to be made. The teacher can create quiz questions and receive texted answers from students. As an educator, you can also think up other creative ways to use this app.
In-Class Back Channel
Back channeling is a great way to introduce additional facts during a lesson, or to just carry on conversations during group readings. Twitter is a good medium for back channeling. However, any teacher will prefer a more controllable platform and Today’s Meet meets this criterion. On this platform, students can create temporary rooms for carrying on back channel discussions.
Poll Everywhere is another option worth considering for it also allows you to moderate statements and prevent anonymous comments.
In-class Readings and Handouts
You can also use a smart phone as an ‘e Reader.’ Place your books or handouts in a Drop box folder for your students to access it. For traditional reading content you can make use of various mobile apps like eReader, iBooks, etc. where you can use available free content or load your own customised versions. Your students can read and even highlight or annotate the documents.
Genius Scan+ available for Windows, iOS and Android based phones is a good app for organising research says Ms. Carey. Learners can capture information using the built-in-camera and either store or export them to Drop Box, Google Docs or Evernote. Evernote is a good app that enables organizing images and information like voice or hand written notes, web clippings, etc., which can be stored in pre categorized folders and tagged for future search or reference.
Ms. Carey also advocates Google Goggles, a Google images-based feature. It can search the internet for image based content. We recommend that you use a Safe Browser app with content filtering and parental controls like the one from Mobicip to ensure that students are able to do their research on the Internet safely.
Cell phones as educational gadgets are here to stay and to prepare our students for the future, it is necessary to properly integrate the use of these devices into class room learning. We at Mobicip are passionate about mobile learning and believe it will bring about a huge transformation in how children learn.