Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cell Phones to Enhance Education - Update

Several of those who read my blog ask that I keep them updated on various blog posts. Here’s a peak into my day when the Sun article appeared in relation to my post on The Value of Using Cell Phones to Enhance Education and Some Concrete Ways to Do So.

Excerpt from the email from my mother…
- How long has the schools system's technology department been offering teachers the classes on how to incorporate cell phones into lesson plans? Shouldn't Mayor Bloomberg have been aware of these classes?
Me – We began offering this class this year. As far as I’m aware the Mayor has never discussed or inquired about classes or asked for our thoughts on his decision to ban cells. I would invite him to do so.
Mom - How would you be able to control student's use of cell phones to only things involving classes and education, if the ban were lifted?
– It would be similar to what we do with laptops. Year 1: I would recommend that leaders who are interested incorporating cell phones into their schools have teachers attend professional development on how they can harness the power of cells in education. I would point them to many of the ideas and resources I share in my post about The Value of Using Cell Phones to Enhance Education and Some Concrete Ways to Do So. I would share the blog and soon-to-be-published book From Toy to Tool – Cell Phones in Learning dedicated to conversing on methods for integrating cell phones into classroom learning by Liz Kolb. I would ensure the teachers were modeling best practices of using cell phones for their students and I would point them to the website I feature in my class simulating cell phones so they can show kids how they can use cell phones to gain knowledge.
Year 2: I would have teachers and students write a proposal about how they intend to enhance education with cell phones and have teachers and students have a hand in creating and agreeing to an acceptable use policy that outlines consequences for unacceptable use.
Mom - I am proud that you are comfortable speaking out and making your views known. However, I still feel that as far as the blog is concerned if you attach your blog URL to your school e-mail it can be construed that the NYC Bd of Ed is endorsing your blog.
Me – If I include my phone are they endorsing my conversations? If I include my email, are they endorsing my emails? If I include my address are they endorsing all the professional development I deliver? I am not promoting including recreational blogs, but rather professional blogs that are extension of our work. I also am fine including a disclaimer on my blog. I would hope my employer, the DOE would endorse having teachers share their voice and celebrate the few of us who are doing things to push ideas and conversations about education. I understand they have a right not to, but I am disappointed.

Excerpt from the email from 20/20's John Stossel…
Him -
Good for you.

Questions/comments from participants in the class containing Google SMS…
- Wow, I never knew cells had all these great educational applications. Can we use ours in class to show our kids?
Me - I’m not sure. Ask your principal, but you can certainly use the website I shared.
Them – This would be so great on field trips! Since that’s outside of schools can students bring their cells to learn there?
Me – I’m not sure since they can’t enter the school with the phones. Ask your principal.
Them – If kids could use cells in school, how would we make sure they were used the right way?
Me – See answer to my mom.
Them – But if we had cells in school kids could use them to capture pictures and videos of teachers doing things wrong and put them on the internet and they could take pictures and videos of each other and put them on the internet.
Me – Ummm…cameras aren’t banned. Laptops which also can capture photo and video are not banned. These issues exist regardless of whether or not we allow students to use cell phones.

A Quirk in the System?
Ironically one of the class participants worked at Dial a Teacher.
Me – So you work at Dial a Teacher?
Her – Yes, I do.
Me – Can you share a little about what you do?
Her – Yes. Students call to get help with their homework and teachers help them over the phone.
Me – So, kids are using phones to get help with their learning?
Her – Well, yes.
Me – What are the hours of Dial a Teacher?
Her – Monday – Thursday from 4 – 7, but budget cuts are going to shut us down.
Me – Interesting. Maybe after this class you’ll have some ideas about how Dial a Teacher can let students know another way they can use their phone to help them with their homework.

Request from the NYC DOE School Library Services Coordinator after taking the class –
I want to thank you for a fabulous Google Apps class tonight. I was thrilled to see that you used our own Information Fluency Continuum to frame the discussion of infusing Web 2.0 tools into the inquiry process. I invite the two of you to present this valuable workshop to the 800+ school librarians we are expecting at our Fall Conference on November 4. Please let me know if you can join us.

Excerpt from my conversation on the car ride home from the class with my boyfriend.
– How was your day?
Him – Pretty good. I was at a medical training and the trainer was making reference to some terms I didn’t know. Fortunately you taught me how to Google SMS and I quietly tapped in define: chorea then define: dysphasia. Within seconds the Google response came back and I was relieved not to have to interrupt the class or distract other participants to find out what those terms meant.

What the press is saying...

New York teachers learn cell phone lessons -
Lisa Nielsen, the creator of the class and a manager of professional development at ... is not to undermine Mayor Michael Bloomberg's school cell phone ban. ...

Despite School Cell Phone Ban, Course Sees Them as Aid - May 16 ...
The creator of the class, Lisa Nielsen, who manages professional development ... encourage teachers and principals to flout Mr. Bloomberg's cell phone ban. ...

NYConvergence - A digest of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut ...
In spite of Mayor Bloomberg's cell phone ban, the Department of Education is offering ... Lisa Nielsen, the course's creator and the manager of professional ...

-Chalk Talk - 4/16/08

Cellphones for Learning? Check it out! Great post for great conversation!

May 16 in Angela Maiers Educational Services · Authority: 231

-Cellphones in the Classroom!? Crazy but I like it.

In an educational settings where technology is scarce, it might just be that every student has technology in his or her pocket– a cellphone. So how can we take advantage of cellphones in the classroom? In another blog post I found these ideas: 10 Ideas for Using Cell Phones in Education 1. Student response polling or pop quizzes (no need to invest in additional devices) 2. Use sms to find definitions, currency conversion, math equations, translation and more 3. Use as an internet browser to access endless information

May 16 in Blog English, Baby!

-Cell phones in school

Thankfully, some people out there, smarter than I, challenge the conventional wisdom and give me ideas that I can use in the future.
Check out this NY Sun article where Lisa Nielsen talks about ways to use cell phones in the classroom, which, of course, one can’t actually do when cell phones are banned. Finding Lisa’s blog there has now brought me up to 37 education blogs I follow.
May 17
in geek.teacher

What T.H.E. Journal is saying...

Fill 'Er Up
Rather than banish cell phones from the classroom, educators are loading the devices with content and capitalizing on their versatile instructional capabilities.
by Rama Ramaswami
May 2008

1 comment:

  1. A wireless SMS K12 test administration server controlled by individual teacher accounts can be seen here:

    messaging4education . com
    rtestedu . com