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Cell Phones: 21st Century Learning Tools? (page 3)

Cell Phones: 21st Century Learning Tools?

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Updated on Apr 2, 2014

Be an Oral Historian

One of the greatest features of the cell phone is the built-in recorder. The only problem is that they often end up being huge files. Solution? Drop.io This password protected web site stores your audio recordings in a private place online. Your teen will receive a number to dial from her phone, after which she can set her phone down and start recording. Kolb says this is a great way to record oral history through grandparents, senior citizens in your community, or local historians. Your child can make a digital storybook with pictures, or just save the conversation for posterity's sake. “You have your tool in your pocket at all times,” she says. Is your child's favorite author coming to the next town over? She can record a reading or book talk with her phone, and maybe even score an interview afterwards.

Be a Radio Star

Radio theater isn't dead, it's just taken a while for people to figure out how to produce this art form through their cell phones! Your child can create an original radio play, from scripting straight through to broadcast, and record it through an online podcasting site, such as Gcast. Spice up the performance with some simple sound effects, dramatization and music with a 1930's theme.

Be a Musician

Got a budding musician on your hands? Your child can use textmarks.com to create text message alerts promoting his band or his latest gig. Or, your child can send his music to friends and family through mozes.com, so it can be used as a unique ringtone.

And a couple ways to make family life easier...

Be Organized

If your teen is attached to his cell phone, but has trouble organizing himself, Kolb suggests signing him up for a service such as dial2do.com. It allows you to create speak-to-text messages and e-mails, make calendar appointments, and listen to your calendar through your cell phone. “It's a very functional tool,” she says.

Before engaging in any of these programs and services, Kolb says parents need to lay down some safety guidelines.

  • First, make sure your child knows everything on a cell phone is public and permanent. “Kids need to understand that once they post on the Internet, it's there for eternity because everything on the Internet is archived. It needs to be something appropriate which represents them well,” Kolb says.
  • If your teen wants to be a mobile reporter, he needs to make sure that he gets permission from everyone in his photo or video before he posts.
  • Parents should be the ones doing all the posting at first, so they're modeling the behavior for their kids. Kolb recommends that you explain your motives to your child, for example, “'It's going to a private account because it's just for our family to see',”she says.
  • If your child wants unlimited text messaging or costly extra features, Kolb recommends setting up some kind of work plan to help pay for it, either through an outside job or chores around the house.

Kolb says the bottom line is that parents and educators need to face facts: cell phones aren't going away anytime soon, but there is a silver-lining to the cell phone culture that we could be tapping. With a little innovation, Kolb says we can teach kids to use their cell phones as a way to learn about, document, and organize their world in preparation for life in the 21st century.

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