Students are hooked on their Smartphones. Just watch a group of teens – how many are typing or swiping something on their phones?
Realizing this phone-addicted reality, many educators are grappling with the idea of allowing students to use their phones for structured classroom projects. If they use phones outside of school, why not allow them to do so in school.
Channeling “Phone Urge”
The way we communicate and get our news is rapidly changing. A number of instructors are now adapting by using social media in their classrooms. Yes, certain sites, like Snapchat and Instagram, can be hard to monitor. However, integrating other social platforms into lesson plans can aids teachers in keeping students engaged. Plus, social media can help them keep up on what is trending to find “teachable moments.” It can also channel students away from using phones for non-instructional use.
Some instructors are now using Twitter to communicate with students and parents about homework, upcoming quizzes and important dates. Others are sending snap quizzes and discussion topics with a Tweet. Research is showing that engaging students via Twitter or other social media helps reduce their urge to become distracted by other platforms while in the classroom.
Teachers are also finding that using memes, GIFs and emojis allow students to express themselves and convey thoughts and feelings in papers and homework assignments that they may have trouble writing about.
There is growing evidence that incorporating smartphones and tablets during lessons can help energize student participation. Many educators are also finding that allowing technology in the classroom presents an opportunity to begin discussions about appropriate and inappropriate social media usage, and the associated dangers.
The NEA has numerous articles about the use of electronic devices and cellphones in schools.
Education Week blogger, Madeline Will, got great response after asking teachers about using social media and to share the memes and GIFS they’ve employed.
Edutopia has a useful article on 12 Ways Teachers are Using Social Media in the Classroom. It includes creating classroom blogs, sharing school work or news on YouTube, and connecting to other schools through various social media platforms.
For educators still a bit reticent about social media in the classroom, TeachThought has created a wonderful infographic and article about Six Ways Social Media Can Change your Classroom. This reinforces the ideas of learning what students are thinking, knowing what news and cultural things are trending, allowing for easier communication with parents, and globalizing the classroom.
Let’s face it, our world is getting more and more connected. How do you feel about mobile technology in your classroom? If you’ve embraced allowing smartphones in class, what worked and what didn’t? Let us know so that we can share with others.
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