A Beginner’s Guide to Using Mobile Devices in Your Classroom

Mobile Devices, mobile phones, and tablets are great tools for teachers and students.  If you are in a school like mine, cell phones are still banned for students during the school day. But, if you have an administrator who is open minded and will let you try out new things (I am fortunate that I do), then here are three ideas to pilot mobile devices into your classroom and strengthen classroom content learning.

1. PollingPoll Everywhere and Micropoll allow students to give you instant feedback.  Teachers can create simple multiple choice surveys and polls for students to complete as entry or exit slips.  The polls can be used as checks for understanding.  Setting up the questions in advance and polling the students at the end the day’s lesson can help teachers tell how well the class comprehended the material. 

2. Video – One feature of the cell phone that students probably use more than the actual  phone feature is the camera. When students are learning about some strategy or concept or idea, most teachers have their students write about it in their own words or talk about, with the video feature on the phone, students can make a 30 second video about it and share with the class by posting it on the class blog.  Another video idea that I learned from Zachary Walker, is a video exit slip. The teacher videos the students at the end of the period as they are walking out of the classroom door – think reflection and exit slip in a video format.  Students share two things they learned in class that day.  This is a great assessment tool for teachers and offers specific evidence of students’ learning.

3. Twitter – Twitter can be used be used as a forum for posting quick thoughts, questions, or reactions to a class reading or assignment.  Students can also collaborate on writing stories, called “twittories.” Create a hashtag for your class, like #RWL, and all students who participate in the twitter conversation can use the hashtag to follow the conversation.  This is great before a test, for students to converse about possible test questions and study collaboratively.  The conversation can be used as evidence of students understanding and learning.

Think about all the ways that you use your cell phones and also how you see young people use cell phones.  Then, create ways that students can use their cell phones in fun ways for educational purposes.  From treasure hunt exercises, taking photographs, recording their voices, polling, researching, and tweeting, there are endless possibilities.  Just remember, experimenting with technology can lead to new learning possibilities for both teachers and students.

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