During the first weeks of school, you will need to set the expectations your students should follow for the entire year. One question you are bound to hear is,
"Can we use our smartphones?"
For years I fought this "change" in education. NO! Absolutely not! If I see it, it goes in my desk drawer! And then, I realized, it was happening anyway, only the phones were not being used productively. Instead, they were hidden in their laps where they thought I couldn't see them. So, what do I do? Just give in? Yes! With structure.
Cell phones, and especially smartphones, can be a valuable tool in the classroom. They can quickly access current events, they can be used as a dictionary or thesaurus, they can be first-stop shopping for research, and with apps and other school-friendly resources, they can become quiz buzzers, survey responders, and so much more.
So, how do you set the stage in these first days of school?
- Include your use expectations in your syllabus and post them on your classroom expectations posters.
- Discuss your policy on the first day of school, and every day thereafter until you are confident in the clarity and understanding of your policy.
- And practice!
- All phones sit on the top of the desk, screen down, unless in class use.
- All phone sounds must be in off mode, unless during an activity requiring sound.
- Phones used inappropriately will be taken away immediately!
- Use Polleverywhere for quick student surveys to motivate classroom participation.
- QR Code activities can keep students tied to an assignment, searching for clues and success!
- Allow students to create Blog Talk Sessions or to hold interviews on topics with Blog Talk Radio.
- Free GPS Features can help students with Geography lessons or with location clarification in history activities.
- Play Games and keep students excited about learning your content!