Students using mobile phones in the classroom has always been considered an element of distraction. There are many schools that don't allow mobile phones, and students believe that it's an odd rule. Yes, there was a time when there were no smartphones, and mobile phones were used only for calling and texting purposes. But in the digital era, things have changed: mobile phones are used as a mode of uncovering information quickly. Smartphones have the technology to function as a personal computer in your hand. This can help students stay connected with technology and the internet, meaning many sources of information are easily accessible and instant. Still, it has been a topic of debate whether mobile phones in the classroom are friend or foe.
Sorry, not sorry – this mostly involves letting them use their phones in class.
I am finding it increasingly so bizarre that phones are not utilised in education more often. And, yes, there is something to be said for having a bit of a digital detox, but phones are an inherent part of everyday life: why are we excluding them from this part?
Through the network of teachers in my PLN I have the privilege of meeting some amazing educators from all over South Africa. One such teacher is Robyn Clark of Sekolo sa Borokgo, an independent school in Johannesburg. We met up at a conference in Pretoria last year and met up again at a conference in Durban last month when we both shared as speakers. What I love about Robyn is her willingness to embrace challenge and change as well as her drive to be a teacher who makes a real difference in her pupils’ lives.
Robyn’s innovative and open approach to the use of mobile phones in her classroom is evident of her desire to use the tools available to her pupils to teach them more effectively.
How are schools using mobile phones to promote learning? We link to a Becta study into mobile phone use in the classroom. Hertfordshire Grid for Learning lists handheld devices and possible mLearning applications. Finally, we cite two blogs on MFL ideas and general classroom uses for mobiles.