Smart Phones – In the pocket or the palm?

There has been a lot of debate to whether Head Teachers should ban smart phones. According to the Guardian the view of the NAHT is that schools should continue to ban smart phones because they hold “potential for mischief and distraction”. My view on this quite bold statement will be discussed during this blog post and I am sure that this blog will be the first of many issue around this topic.

I strongly feel that the view of smart phones having the  “potential for mischief and distraction” is one made by someone who does not fully understand the potential that these devices that are currently lying ‘dormant’ in the students pockets and could have massive impact on teaching and learning. A manageable acceptable use policy would need to be in place and if these students did not use there mobile devices in the correct manner then they would lose the right to use them. A large element of trust must be placed in the hands of the students to use their devices appropriately.

We must remember that in the current economic climate schools may not have money to spend on new technology and with funds being cut to develop technology, using the pupils smart phones or mobile devices will bridge the technology gap without significant investment from the school. The devices that are now in the pockets of students is an excellent opportunity to engage students in learning in a way that can develop their own independent learning skills and also “capture the vast amount of informal learning going on outside the classroom”. The opportunities available to students to access the internet and also applications that are available on smart phones and mobile devices are endless.

I strongly feel that Smart Phones and Mobile devices should be encouraged in the classroom these will provide an engaging up to date way of learning. From first hand experience I have used smart phones and mobile devices such as PSPs, Nintendo DS and iPads to allow less able students to access key information from the internet to aid in their learning. This has really engaged these pupils in learning and increased their enjoyment within the lessons.

I am lucky enough to work within a school that provides the opportunity for students to bring their own device into school to access free WiFi that is available to all students all over the school campus. I wish to develop this opportunity with the students and would love to see the full potential that Smart Phones and mobile devices can offer in education both within the classroom and on the all over the school campus. It is no longer, ‘put your phones away!’ but ‘put your phone to good use!’

So reviewing the big question from the start… Smart phones definitely belong in the palm of the students to aid learning and provide an up to date learning environment which will engage all students.

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About smarterlearning

Teacher of Science at Clevedon School. Apple Distinguished Educator.

Posted on November 7, 2011, in Apps, elearning, iPad, iPhone and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Here in the US, my students ARE allowed to have their smart phones. We use them in class for surveys and text quizzes (I can’t think of the website, but you ask a question, they text in an answer, and the results are instantly graphed for you). I love it. The only problem is when google translate beckons (I teach Spanish). They don’t “get” why that’s a bad plan…part of it is maturity, part of it is cultural: why NOT take the easy/fast/techie road.

  2. Good points Gavin.
    I’m pretty sure that a student who will be distracted by a phone will probably be easily distracted anyway.
    Dave

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