Mobile Phones in Classrooms

17 08 2007

There’s a great conversation going on on the blog of teacher Siobhan Curious, concerning the permissibility of mobile phones in the classroom. As a classroom teacher, Siobhan’s first instinct is to confiscate mobile phones that disrupt her classes; and to tell you the truth, I can certainly see situations where this would be the appropriate thing to do.

As I said in my comments to her post (you will just have to go over and read them for yourself if you want the gory details), mobile devices provide opportunities for both disruptive and constructive applications in educational settings. Just as it’s possible to use a cassette walkman or iPod in a negative way (e.g. listening to music in class) and a positive way (listening to a language e-book outside of class; or recording a class lecture for later review), a mobile phone is a tool that can be used politely, thoughtfully, or even positively; or negatively and counter-productively. Teachers, as classroom “moderators,” should have the freedom to decide which uses fall into which categories.

I would classify accepting a call and beginning a phone conversation with a friend in the middle of a class disruptive and rude – just as rude as starting a conversation with a neighbour in the classroom. But some teachers may be happy to permit students to video chemistry or physics experiments for later review, for example… or to make a video of the teacher solving an algebraic equation, to help their understanding of the deductive process when they have to complete their homework later.

(via Stuart Smith at 3 Sheep Musings)

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5 responses

18 08 2007
siobhan curious

Thanks for this reference, Leonard – unfortunately, when I approved the long and interesting comment you left on my site, it was somehow identified as spam and seems to have disappeared. If you have a way of sending it again, I will try again to post it. I agree that the discussion has been interesting.

22 08 2007
Alexander Hayes

Hi Leonard

Long time no hear πŸ™‚

Just wondering mate if you could please participate in an activity that requires a tiny bit of your time ……a thought for a minute or two and 100 words of less.

Please visit – http://alexanderhayes.com/wiki/index.php/CIT_National_TAFE_M-learning

I’m presenting two small workshops at the CIT National TAFE Construction workshop in Canberra on Sep. 5 -7 and as part of the presentation I’m keen to bring in some accounts from my network of contacts in slide style.

I’ll be demonstrating the use of an online SMS portal and pointing to things such as the Mlearn2007.org conference in October, the great work of Gary Sewell in Hunter, Regan Harding in Coffs, Kristin Teece in Armidale, Sue Waters in Western Australia and your work in the ACT etc.

I’d also like to point to some of the great work you are up to.

Can you please send me ASAP ;

* 100 words or less addressing the question – What has changed in the area of mlearning in the last year or so, with consideration for it’s application in your personal and professional life ?.
* ONE website address for the bottom of the slide
* a thumbnail picture of yourself or avatar or a link to a location with you online

I’d really appreciate your inclusion in this activity which will be made available via PPS, ODP and Slideshare format . I look forward to your reply and hope all is well your way πŸ™‚

Please send it to my gmail account at alexanderhayes1969-at-gmail.com

27 08 2007
jnxyz

This really is the great school debate we have to have… but no one (at a system level) seems to want to. I believe its inevitable that personal comminication devices need to be brought into the education mainstream. I’ve written about Jill Atwell’s work in this area here:

http://web.mac.com/jnxyz/mlearn/2006_Articles/Entries/2006/8/2_Mobile_Phones_in_Schools%3A_Spotlight_on_Jill_Attewell.html

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