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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Phones in My Classroom By Choice!

Telephones don't have to be a curse. No, I don't like answering them or yacking away for hours on them, never did, even as a child. There is a difference however, today's telephones are so much more intriguing than those that existed when I was a child. For the longest time, I have been reading and chatting to others about the phones our students carry around, telling myself that I can make good use of these devices in my classes, but that's all it

Today's mobile phones are not only phones, but so much more. They are Smart Phones! A good majority of our students own BlackBerries or other phones that hook up to a 3G network or our school wifi. Some of these devices may not even be phones at all, some of them are iPods!

Yesterday I decided I was jumping in with both feet and eyes wide open. It was no longer going to be about the talk. Yesterday I decided it was time for action.

I created an account at PollEverywhere which is a great site that enables users to create polls, share them online with links or as embedded features on blogs and wikis, and provides a variety of ways for those being polled to respond. I didn't want this to cost my kids any money so I decided against text and opted for Tweet and  Web voting.

During the lesson we were working on micro-blogging research with Twitter (plan A)and/or Today's Meet (Plan B). (We had trouble creating Twitter accounts from school.) At the end of the lesson I asked the kids to go get their phones and other devices capable of connecting to the school wifi or a 3G network. Other teachers in the building gave me a few strange looks (Generally speaking, cell phones are to be turned off and packed away during the school day.)

I emailed the link to the kids and they got on task and answered the poll, while we watched with excitement as their responses appeared on the screen. I have asked them to bring their devices in again next week and thanked them for being a part of my little experiment. I am pretty sure that this is going to become a part of my weekly starters and/or plenaries all because my kids already own Smart Phones or other Smart devices.

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