I have been following the trend of schools allowing and actually encouraging students to bring and use smart phones in school. It is becoming common in the work field as a tool so why not allow middle school and high school students use this technology in the classroom. Heck, with education budget cuts this could actually become a free resource. How many free or low cost educational apps are available on the iphone. How many students have these devices in lockers, book bags or maybe at home. Why not instead of telling students to leave them at home, take them away when they have them out we as teachers teach them how to responsibly use them. They are not going away.
I went two years ago to a workshop that one teacher discussed was how the inner city school teacher who “gasp” allowed students to use their smart phones. She set up rules:
1. place them on airplane mode unless an app needs the 3g or wireless.
2. She could answer it if it rang and no texting while in class.
3. IF Caught misusing the phone they would loose use of the phone in class for the week . No using it for research, games or projects, like a normal classroom. They got the textbook, pencil and notebook. She had the students write on a large paper what misuse would be. (Oh an internet safety lesson) Examples: no camera use unless for project. She taught about professional uses of facebook and twitter. A computer ethics course.
She also allowed students to text or e-mail home work. During the year she documented an increase in test score and turned in homework. As for misuse she had non students did not want to loss the privilege and respected the rules they created.
I researched a few article and successful schools that are allowing smart phone use
Very Recent Article:
Some schools rethink ban of cell phones Best advice I have read
But the American Association of School Administrators itself argues the other side, promoting the use of cell phones in class as “genuine educational tools.”
“Handheld devices like cell phones, iPhones, BlackBerrys and iTouch are beginning to offer applications that enhance classroom learning by engaging kids to use tools they are constantly using anyway,” Daniel A. Domenech, the association’s executive director, wrote in an essay last fall.
Cell phones head to class“The students are expecting immediate answers and, if we don't always have a room full of computers and they do have answers right there in their pockets, it's sad for us to say, ‘I know it's there and you can't (use it),'” Faulkner said. “Some teachers were saying, ‘OK, you can look that up on your phone and I'll stand right here and watch you.'”
Forsyth County Schools in Cumming, Ga., has slowly allowed some of its 34,000 students to bring their own notebooks, iPhones or other computing tools to school and connect them to the district network.
This after reading numerous articles has to be the best use of available technology I have read about. If you allow students to link with WIFI not the cellular network you can monitor what they can and cannot use. That is what I use in my classroom. I have iphones and ipods using WIFI only and I know the students are only able to get to appropriate sites. Have the student remove the sim card and place it a container labeled with their name if your worried about them usng the cellular network at the end of the day they can put the sim card back in. In my classroom they are old phones that does not have a sim card.