Cells in the Classroom: From Banning to Embracing (A Five-Step Plan)

Short Link to this page: http://tinyurl.com/5steps4cellsinEd

Tech Forum
Friday, October 22, 2010
9:45 - 11:00
New York

Lisa Nielsen, Creator - The Innovative Educator Blog | Supports NYC Schools in incorporating innovative practices | Co-author-Teaching Generation Text
Willyn Webb, Co-author-Teaching Generation Text | Counselor/Teacher Delta Opportunity School | Adjunct Professor Mesa State College

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Willyn Hamilton Webb
Lisa Velmer Nielsen
Let Students Use Cell Phones to Learn

Description: 94% of Americans under age 45 have a personal learning device that could greatly enrich the way teachers teach and students learn. Unfortunately, many schools and districts ban student-owned learning learning devices such as cell phones. In this session we'll reveal a sensible and progressive 5-step plan that will enable all stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, and students) to embrace these powerful learning tools and discover how doing so can enrich student learning and strengthen the home-school connection.


Presenter Introductions

Why Are We Here
  • Because students LOVE their cell phones!
  • We can make the school world better match the real world. Bridge the digital divide!
  • We can TEACH proper cell phone behaviors & educational uses that are FREE, easy to use, and engaging!
  • We can open up global resources, use a UBIQUITOUS device, and better prepare our students for their FUTURE.

From Banning to Embracing
Poll Everywhere: 22333
Poll Everywhere

You are ready to go
from this......
Banning Doesn't Work

to this....
Embracing Does

5 Step Plan to Begin Harnessing the Power of Cells
Share success you've had, you are doing, or might try in each step.
txt @wif30180 + message to 87884
Step One: Teacher Use of Cell Phones for Professional Purposes
  1. Use Poll Everywhere to conduct staff surveys that would be useful and interesting to share with students and the school community.
  2. Use group texting to inform colleagues/staff rather than disrupting instruction with announcements.
  3. Set up Google Voice to serve as your personal secretary who will transcribe your messages and enable you to easily share with others.

Wiffiti Input and discussion
Twitter Tag: #mlearning

Set up Twitter on your cell at http://twitter.com/devices.

Step Two: Teacher Models Appropriate Use for Learning
  1. Model for your students how you use your cell phone to support your work using the phone for basic features like alarm clock, calendar, calculator, stop watch, note taking.
  2. Demonstrate how you can use your phone to gain information instantly using ChaCha (242242).
    • What year was Snickers on the Market AND what's a good snickers recipe?
  3. Use your cell phone as a camera to capture student work and events and load them to Flickr so they can be embedded in your class or school website, wiki or blog.
    • Your subject is the caption and the message is the description.
    • Take a photo now with your phone and try it.
Flickr Email: forces95pool@photos.flickr.com

Step Three: Strengthen the Home-School Connection with Cell Phones
  1. Use group texting through your phone provider or through a service like Swaggle to send out reminders to parents.
    • Environmentally friendly.
    • More likely to make into parents hands.
  2. Show parents/families/guardians their thoughts and opinions matter. Poll them or request open response using a tool like Poll Everywhere.
  3. Use Twitter and have the updates feed into your blog, school website, or wiki to reinforce the home/school connection and build class/school pride.
  4. Text home to celebrate student success or reach out via text if there is an area of concern. This can be done quickly with minimal disruption to either party.
    • The attendance office at Willyn's school uses texting to notify reach out students who are absent.
    • Unanswered texts may be sent to parents/guardians.
Wiffiti Input and discussion

Step Four: Students Use Cell Phones for Homework
  1. Use ChaCha to connect your students to a free network of thousands of guides who can help them when they get stuck and/or have no one around to help.
  2. Use Google Voice to set up a widget and have students enter their phone number where they will receive a call from their teacher's Google voice account. Ask them to please leave a message with their spoken report about their selected subject. If they don't like how they sounded the first time, they don't have to send the message. They can re-record until they have something with which they are happy.

    To get your Google Voice Account visit I received my Google Voice Invite and You Should Too!
  3. Test prior knowledge of a unit your class is about to study and use Wifitti to have students share one thing they know about the subject.

Wiffiti Input and discussion
What do you want to be when you grow up?

Appropriate Use

Step Five: Students Use Cell Phones for Classwork
  1. You're going on a field trip. Ask students to determine how they might want to use cell phones to meet the learning goals of the trip using tools most phones have. They may decide to Tweet for a scavenger hunt, send reflections to Wifitti or capture pictures with captures to Flickr.
  2. You're about to learn about a new country or explore your own neighborhood. Ask students for ideas to meet learning goals using their cells. Maybe they can use ChaCha or Google SMS to collect data about the area.
  3. Invite students to use cell phones to create a Voki character to tell short stories.

Wiffiti Input and discussion

With this 5 Step plan you can begin embracing cells as an individual and begin leading your entire school into the future.
"Talking Points for Texting" will enable you to begin the conversation in your educational setting.

This video from our education secretary will provide back-up for support:

America's Vision for The Future in Ed
Message from Education Secretary - Duncan (42 seconds)

Questions, comments, reactions
Keep the conversation going...

Read our writing!
Five steps here: 5 Steps to Harnessing the Power of Cells in Education Today
Our upcoming book, Teaching Generation Text

Join our groups!

Cell Phones in Education on Classroom 2.0

Let Students Use Cell Phones to Learn on Facebook

Take our class!
Mesa State Online Ed580 Teaching Generation Text

Cell Phones in the classroom from George Engel - http://blogs.cellularlearning.org/?p=182