|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on February 6, 2018 at 8:15 AM|
I've been infusing technology into my classroom for at least the last ten years. In that time, my students
have gone from a few with cell phones, everyone with a flip phone, a few smart phones and flip phones, and
finally 75% of my students now have smart phones. The entirety of accumulated human knowledge is at their
fingertips, but as it turns out centuries worth of wisdom cannot compete with DJ Khaled and school gossip.
Quite frankly as a teacher I cannot compete with a mobile device in terms of getting and maintaining a
student's complete attention. While I cannot offer a solution (every classroom and school is different) I can
share what I've tried to cope with this dilemma.
Option 1: Allow for educational use only
I consider myself to be a progressive minded teacher. When I started reading journal articles about
teachers allowing students to use their personal device in their classes I was convinced that it could be a real
game change; in reality, not so much. Have I seen personal device usage allow students to become more
engaged in their education? Yes. Have I seen a student use twenty-five minutes of class time to play on their
device rather than use it appropriately? Also, yes. As a teacher this was simply too hard for me to monitor.
Further more, it was I naive of me to believe that a student would become more engaged with the material if
they were using their own personal device. I still do think that personal devices allow schools that operate on
a tight budget even the playing field a bit. However, this was not the game changer I imagined it to be.
Option 2: No phones during instructional/work time
Seems reasonable enough. You can keep your device on you, but while were engaged in the learning
process, don't have it out. I thought I was teaching appropriate usage. Wrong! I just ended up policing who
was texting and who was on instragram during class discussions. Again, I don't have time to waste policing
appropriate usage. Furthermore, as adults (teachers and myself included) we don't always set the right
example for appropriate usage. This too was not the solution.
Option 3: Cell phone cady
Amazon is awesome. I bought a calculator caddy for around $23.00. Student (and teacher) devices go
into the caddy when the bell rings and they come out when the bell rings to leave. I wanted to send the
message that this is our time to focus on what is important; the outside world can hold on for 45 minutes while
we learn. It's been about two weeks and so far so good. I assumed that after a while students would just keep
them in their purses and pockets, but it seems like the majority of the classes are placing them in the caddy.
I know they appreciate the fact that I am placing my phone in there as well, perhaps that helps. I don't know if
this is the best solution or not, but it might be the best solution for my situation.
Bottom line, every school is different and no approach is wrong. I try and be more pragmatic.; what
works for me might not work for you. I don't even know yet if it's working for me, but I can tell you that so far
there are been more time on task. Hopefully, this means that student
achievement has improved. Time will tell.