One of the first things I have asked that the teachers of our Connections class do is to poll their students on cell phone ownership and capability. The first thing we wanted to know was if they owned one: The responses were about what we expected (although at the time of this posting, there were only 6th and 7th grade students reporting on this):
Once we identified who owned cellphones, we wanted to know what the capabilities of those phones were. We asked if it had a camera, could record video, playback video from other sources, access the Internet, record sounds, and play games:
Additionally, we wanted to get some data on how they were using it to communicate, especially via texting. We asked how them how many text messages they sent and received in a day:
- Less than 10 per day: 16% of students
- 10-20 per day: 21% of students
- 20-50 per day: 20% of students
- 50+ per day: 29% of students
- at least three said the number was higher than 100 per day.
Lastly, we asked them the various ways they could use their cellphone to help their learning and the responses varied from the basics of calculator use, to using Cha-Cha to get answers to basic factual questions (we had a teacher use this in class the other day, so I think the deck was stacked on that one!).
What we are beginning to look at here is how we can leverage this against limited resources and access to computers. Looking at Liz Kolb’s blog and the predictions for mobile technology, I feel now is the right time to be playing with this idea. We do so many things throughout the course of the year that students could dig deeper into, and looking at the 4th Screen video from Nokia truly transforms how we view our mobile phones. There is power there.
How are you using your phone? How are your students using theirs?