Forget about turning your cellphone off before you enter class.
Forget about having it confiscated for texting during lectures, or for browsing the web while you should be listening.
Your cellphone is now part of your classroom experience, so you better make sure that your battery is fully charged before you head to school.
Many school districts have bans on cellphones in classrooms, citing them as learning distractions or tools for social harassment.
Schools in the Toronto area have lifted the ban on cellphones in the classroom and are looking at the different ways that cellphones and other hand-held technology can be harnessed to make class time interactive.
Across the US, school boards have been have been researching the effectiveness of iPads as learning tools for students of all ages.
Classrooms already using personal electronic devices (PEDs) to teach and learn all report success:
- improved student engagement
- increased literacy
- ongoing student communication outside of the classroom
Cellphones—or other PEDs—are tools to access social media, which can be harnessed as a benefit to the classroom, and might help students who might be too shy to interact in the classroom otherwise.
Universities are already using personal technology and social media to interact with students. A recent study shows that up the 30% of profs use social media regularly.
And other studies are showing that social media site Facebook can actually help increase grades.
It will take a few years to implement a district-wide cellphone policy in Toronto, but certain teachers are embracing the technology ahead of schedule and engaging students using the technology—and the ability to learn—that they already have in their hands.