I have recently been introduced to a different meaning for cellphones in the classroom. Most of us in academia have policies about NO CELLPHONE USE IN THE CLASSROOM! In K-12 I think phones are not allowed inside the classroom, in college we ask students to” turn the ringer off.” Students often find a “good reason” why they are texting in class…I find no good reason in any circumstance…if it’s that important – go home!
But recently some situations have arisen that have made me think twice about the uncomfortable union of academia and cellphones:
(1) A student without a textbook the first couple of weeks of class took a picture of the assignment questions so that she could complete the homework (I wondered why not borrow a book from a classmate or go to the library…..?)
(2) Another student who was unable to use the computer software to create her diagram (ecomap & genogram) drew them by hand, took a picture, then sent them as an email attachment with her paper (I was thinking…you could scan them…)
(3) A student whose paper got lost in the e-learning system, took a picture of her paper and sent it to me via email….the same with a student whose test answer truly disappeared from my view sent me a picture of his answer to prove he had indeed taken the quiz!
(4)Some colleagues text their students reminders or check-in if they’ve been absent from a class because “Students don’t check their email” (I still don’t want students to have my cellphone number!)
(5) And of course you can use cellphones as “clickers” in the classroom to do class surveys or quizzes
While I am not sure I like the cellphone as the first choice for solving some of the above problems, I am impressed with the creative use of this technology (I am no techno-phobe, but #1-3 had not occurred to me at all until I saw it done). It makes me wonder about how my 2 year old will interact with teachers and faculty int he future. I hope not primarily by cellphone.