Cellphones in the Classroom?




I grew up when cellphones were starting to become a normal thing in high school and only the “coolest” kids or the “most loved” ones got cell phones in middle school. Theres were many ups and downs to allowing us to have our cell phones in school. In middle school we were allowed to bring a cell phone in case of emergencies, but had to leave them in our lockers all day. This never made sense to any of us. If something went wrong how or when would I have time to get my cell phone? It seemed as if the administration wanted to make parents who were for cell phones happy and that was the only reason they allowed them.

In high school we were allowed to carry our cell phones around with us as long as they were turned off (which of course they NEVER were). Most people didn’t have internet access or smart phones just yet so for us phones were only a means on communication between friends. Because of that I understand why when I was in high school many teachers were upset when a cell phone was out, but now a days most students have smart phones which allow them to do so much more!

I’m not a big advocate for cell phone use in the classroom, but in some cases I can see the benefit. Students can look up resources to help them find information or use apps such as google docs to collaborate with one another. Teachers encourage the use of computers and internet when conducting research or going to an educational website. A smart phone is just a mini computer so why do so many educators not utilize it?

Students DO have cell phones and ARE going to use them. Its just a fact. When I was in high school my cell phone was always on and I was using it throughout the day. What we really need to be doing with our students is teaching them when its appropriate to use cell phones and in what ways. Lets teach them that cell phones ARE an educational tool. Maybe then they’d even take some of the resources or apps shown to them and continue learning outside of the classroom. We see people glued to their phones all the time, but what if when we took a look at their screen it was an article or a program teaching them another language? Technology is not evil, its a great! It just has to be used the right way.


Ted Talk Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover


In the video above Dan Meyer talks about how math needs an upgrade. I found his video interesting and very true. I remember the days when I just sat in math class working on word problems the teacher projected from the book. As she walked through them all I had to do was memorize the order in how she did them and know what formula worked for what kind of problems. When it came to studying I didn’t once practice. I simply memorized the formulas.

I had no idea in what real life settings I’d use these skills and in the cases that there was a word problem that told you it never seemed realistic. We never talked or discussed anything. We simply just watched and imitated. No wonder so many of my classmates were always falling asleep in class!

I love Dan’s idea of how to approach teaching math. He takes away all the steps and information the text provides. He makes his students look at a real life situation and talk about how they might figure out the answer. In this way he engages the students and can slowly provide them the numbers need to plug into a formula. His students now know the WHY of the formula, not just the HOW. I couldn’t have told you why a formula was laid out the way it was. I could only show you how to plug in numbers.

Dan’s approach is much more engaging and realistic. Students aren’t stuck thinking about abstract ideas they are physically seeing and working with real objects to figure out the answer. Now the “When am I ever going to need this” question has gone bye-bye!

Blog 3: Digital Media* New Learners of the 21st Century

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While watching PBS’s Digital Media* New Learners of the 21st Century, the Digital Youth Network program caught my attention. This after-school program allows students to utilize different forms of media to increase their knowledge and and pursue their interests. Before watching this video I thought of video and music production as a hobby. I didn’t see how it can be use as another way of building on top of more traditional learning.

Its not possible to produce a song or video without the ability to read, write, problem-solve, or interact with others. There are many steps to producing media, which enable a student to pursue their interests while incorporating what they have learned and potentially adding on to that. If a student wants to create a video or song about a piece of knowledge they wish to share, they first need to be educated themselves on the material.

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Bloom’s taxonomy (above) shows the steps to mastering content. Through creating games, videos, music, and other forms of media students must go through each of the steps in order to reach the top of the pyramid and create their own media sharing the information. A student has truly mastered a topic not only when they can past a test, but when they are able to teach the material again to other.

PBS’s documentary really opened my eyes to viewing media as less of a way for students to brainlessly waste their time and more as a useful resource in the classroom. Before I thought too much technology would create anti-social/anti-community members out of students, but when used correctly students learn that they have to depend on others in order to create solutions and begin to use media as a way to impact their community.


Image Credit: (1) http://www.pbs.org/parents/digital-media/ (2) http://ww2.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

Blog 2: SOL Standard



The SOL standard I’m going to focus on for the semester is 4th grade English standard:

4.9  The student will demonstrate comprehension of information resources to research a topic.

  1.  Construct questions about a topic.
  2. Collect information from multiple resources including online, print, and media.
  3. Use technology as a tool to organize, evaluate, and communicate information.
  4. Give credit to sources used in research.
  5. Understand the difference between plagiarism and using own words.

A research project seems one-dimensional as to how to accomplish and teach it, but I believe that I can adopt lesson plans for how to teach it which will incorporate different learning styles. I can differentiate this standard for students by:

  1. Allowing students to pick their own topic of interest
  2. Demonstrating different media to use as research
  3. Allowing students to use different forms of media (digital storytelling, posters, papers, etc.) to present their findings.


Image Credit: https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/1121006200/era_net.jpg

Blog 1: iLearn Technology

iLearn Technology

iLearn Technology is a useful tool for educators looking to incorporate more technology into their classrooms. The website was created by Kelly Tenkely. Kelly has worked both as a classroom teacher and a technology specialist.

On her blog she provides various websites which provide technological ways of learning. Kelly begins each post with describing what each program is. She goes on to provide options as to how to integrate these websites into the classroom settling.

I found this very helpful. If I had any confusion as to how to incorporate a website or app into a lesson plan Kelly gave her own opinion as to how to include it into a lesson. Her blog is clean and very easy to navigate. She follows the same outline for each post making it easy to search for the information you need.

Kelly also provides visual and examples of how she used different programs/apps. This allows the reader to get a quick preview of the finished project without having to open up different windows or go through the program themselves and end up not liking the finished outcome.


Image Credit: https://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Filearntechnology.com?tab=people&uname=plan3t_t3ch