Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cell Phones Optimize Learning Time

Guest post by Joyce Long, Colorado educator | Cross posted at Teaching Generation Text

Use phones to take pictures of important information on the board

In my classroom I see cell phones as a time saver and tool of engagement rather than a distraction.  For example, in my health class we were on a roll discussing the possibilities of making our own anti-alcohol/tobacco video, improving on the one we had just watched.  The students were excited, motivated, and full of ideas.  I knew they needed to get the ideas off of the board down before they left.  I didn't want to stop their thinking.  So, I waited until the last second and then asked them to get out their phones and take a picture of the board.  For the ones without phones I posted the photo to the class website and printed out a picture for those without computer access.  This allowed us to continue the brainstorm while on a roll, right up to the last seconds of class time.  

In the past I would have had to stop the storm so that everyone would have time to write down what was on the board, or ask them to write as we go, constantly interrupting the flow of ideas.   Now the ideas will be at home too, ready to look at and text adaptations, new ideas, specifics, details, etc. The kids who were absent go the picture texted to them and came back ready to go the next day. Creative energy is such a powerful force.  Having cell phones as a tool to increase the energy simply aids great educational experiences.

For more ideas about effective ways to use cell phones for learning, including research-based strategies, lessons, and more order Teaching Generation Text.


  1. I disagree. If it was important enough for the teacher to put it on the board, it is important enough for students to have the time to write it down. Writing helps put it in the brain. Having info in the brain is much better than having info in their cell phone.
    The wrong person is doing the work here... students should be doing the work not just provided the outcome.

  2. If a person wants to copy stuff off a board, they are welcome to do that.

    Many educators and learners value the ability to get to the thinking faster. This means making meaning, conversing, reflection, doing, etc...for many it does not mean copying.

    But, again...
    No one is stopping anyone from spending their time that way. It's all about what the learner chooses / values for themselves.