Sunday, February 5, 2012

Creating a plan with students to use cell phones for learning

Visit this link to see how these students
are using cell phones as learning tools.

Cross posted at the Teaching Generation Text. The blog dedicated to using mobile devices for learning.

Want to integrate cell phones into learning? You can involve your students with this planning lesson where students will focus on cell phones as learning tools. With an overview of the educational uses of cell phones (the Gr8 8, below), students will determine how they will choose to use their cell phones for educational purposes.  Contracts for tools will be developed by students and the result will be a plan for educational uses of cell phones.
Lesson Title: Plans for Phones or Plnz 4 fonz
Tools Used:  Poll Everywhere
Lesson Description:
  • Start with a class discussion about tools, and their purpose, for learning.
  • Multiple choice poll:  Ask students to text into a poll everywhere free text poll examples of tools and their uses: pencil-communicating/taking notes, calculator-do math, dictionary-learn meanings of words, notes, books, websites, teacher instruction.
  • Free text poll: Ask students to share the tools available on their phone. This captures all of the available, educational, free cell phone tools that are in students’ pockets.
  • Teacher shares the "Gr8 8 Top Educational Uses of Cell Phones" to get students thinking about some ways that cell phones can be used for learning.
  • Teacher asks how are you already using your phone for learning? What are you already doing that works?
  • Multiple choice poll: Which of the "Great 8" would you like most to use for learning.  Note: The teacher may want to share these poll results with parents, administrators, and other teachers.
  • Students personalize this, by creating plans explaining how they will use cell phone tools for learning.  
Here is a sample plan template:
When at school or at home, I will use my cell phone appropriately for learning in following ways:
I will use my cell phone to:The tool I will use is:This will help me learn better because:How will you know your plan is working?Did your plan work?
(To be completed at the end of a lesson or unit of study)
Example 1:   do research
Cha Cha

when I don’t have access to the internet, I still have information and experts available to me. I will turn in assignments more often because I will get stuck less.
Example2:  reach out to an expert when I am stuck on my work.text messaging or voiceI will start thinking about and collecting experts to connect with. This way I will learn more and have a lot of resources.The quality of my work improve because I will have a bank of expert resources to turn to.  I will also use more references in my wwork.

Planning Worksheet, questions adapted from The Educator’s Guide to Solutioning.

These planning worksheets provide great evidence to make a case about the benefits of cell phones.
At the end of each unit, teachers and students can share and learn new ways for using cells to learn.

Here’s How:  
Using Poll Everywhere is simple.  You can watch a demonstration here or follow these steps:
  • Register at Poll Everywhere with your email and password.
  • Select “Create your first poll.”
  • Select a “Multiple Choice” or “Free Text” poll.
  • Type your question/answer choices in the text box. Select “Save new poll.”
  • You will be taken to a screen that shows your poll question and results along with how to respond via text.
  • For multiple choice polls, your audience will text Poll Everywhere (at 99503) and type in the code displayed to share their answer and send the text.
  • Once the answer is submitted the results are instantly displayed on the Poll Everywhere page in your web browser.
  • Have students put the number 99503 into their phone. Project the poll.
  • Students text Poll Everywhere at 99503 and enter the code that corresponds to their answer.
  • The answers instantly appear on the poll being projected.
Useful resources:
Gr8 8 - Top Educational Uses of Cell Phones
1.  engagement-audience response-polls, wiffitis, 100% participation, can be anonymous
2.  communication-group texting, group projects, cooperative learning
3.  home-school connection-group texts to parents, parents text teacher/student
4.  homework-phone never lost, answer questions on phone, review notes, etc on the go
6.  research-googlesms/chacha/text an expert
6.  organization-calendar/alarm/reminders/calculator/notes
7.  varied sensory instruction-googlevoice,voki, pictures
8.  visual-camera/video

Explain how the use of cell phones enriches this lesson: By using cell phones for the introduction to the lesson, teachers are modeling what they are presenting.  The poll encourages all students to participate.  Responses are collected instantly saving time that can be devoted to learning.

Special Notes/ Additional comments: If cell phones are not yet allowed in the classroom, this sharing session could be done by having students complete this on post its that they place on the board or chart paper and it could be saved by the teacher taking a picture on his/her phone.

NETS Standards for Students Met:
  • Creativity and Innovation - Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • Communication and Collaboration - Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  • Research and Information Fluency - Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
NETS Standards Addressed - Teachers:
  • Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
  • Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
  • Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Research-based instructional strategies:
Summarizing and note taking
Homework and practice
Nonlinguistic representations
Setting objectives and providing feedback

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


  1. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Great post !!!Many students use mobile in a wrong ways.. and therefore it is necessary to discuss with students to use cell phones for learning.. i really like your post...