The Case for Cellphones in Schools
Mobile learning can help with the growing disconnect between students' lives and school and between informal and formal learning.
The real disconnect is not the one between parents and kids. "It's the gap between how students learn and how they live! They really want to end that divide," according to Project Tomorrow, the Irvine, Calif.-based nonprofit organization that runs the annual nationwide Speak Up study.
And the disconnect is "alive and well ... and growing," was the finding of the latest Speak Up, which surveyed 281,500 students, 29,644 teachers, 3,114 administrators, 21,309 parents, and 4,379 schools in 868 districts in all 50 states and some in other English-speaking countries. "Students say they 'step back in time' when they enter the school building each morning - despite overwhelming agreement among parents, teachers and principals that the effective implementation of technology in schools is crucial to student success," Project Tomorrow says in its release of last fall's survey.
Cellphones everywhere. The Speak Up study found that about 77% of students in grades 9-12 have mobile phones (55% have access to laptops), indicating that leveraging that installed base by teaching with cellphones would be economical in terms of both time and money.
"Cell phones can be powerful computers. They can do just about everything laptops can do for a fraction of the price. And many students are bringing them to school anyway," says University of Michigan education professor Elliot Soloway.
Still, barriers to adoption remain, including adult biases against technology for "serious" use; a diversity of cellphone products in the marketplace; phones' physical features (screen size, battery life, etc.); and schools' fears about student distraction and lack of responsibility toward the equipment, according to the 2009 Joan Ganz Cooney Center study "Pockets of Potential".
Responsible use the norm. About that last and crucial barrier, though, school districts that do incorporate cellphones and other handheld devices into classroom work find that student engagement and responsible use are actually the norm.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- First Grade Sight Words List