Cell phones are the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective digital tool available for today's learners. You don't have to wait for them to turn on. Everyone knows how to use them. They don't require an onsite technician to use them. They're always with you and almost everybody has access to one, making it easy to communicate, connect, and learn. Students love using their cell phones and while some adults view them as the enemy, others have learned to embrace these devices, realizing what a powerful learning tool they are.
Here are some tools you can use to get started in using cell phones for learning at school, in environments where they are allowed, or away from school.
1) Poll Everywhere
Poll Everywhere provides a terrific way to capture the thoughts and ideas of every student. Simply set up a multiple choice or free response poll, give students the code, and have them text in their answers like they do on shows like American Idol.
- Read more about using Poll Everywhere for learning here.
Flickr is a great way to quickly and easily create slideshows. This is fun to do with a new class. In an instant you can create a class slideshow by asking everyone to take their picture and place their name in the subject and something they want the class to know about them in the body, then email it to Flickr. You could also have students use Flickr to turn their writing into a slideshow picture book.
Use iPadio to make a quick and simple podcast right from your phone. No fancy equipment required. You could have students turn their reports, projects, or poetry into oral presentations to be shared with a global audience, right from their phone.
- Read more about using iPadio for learning here.
You can Tweet right from your phone and set up the updates to feed directly into your website, wiki, or blog. Some teachers do this to showcase what is taking place in their classrooms or libraries. Here's an example http://www.martavalle.org/library-media-center. Some principals do this to celebrate student success and update the school on topics of importance. It instantly shows up on their website. Here's an example http://www.kurthahnschool.org.
- Read more about using Twitter for learning here.
5) Cha Cha
If you don’t know something, just text the question to Cha Cha at 242 242 and get a live person sharing an answer. This is a great resource for students who need to work on homework while on the go. Note: Cha Cha is funded by advertising. Use your discretion in using this tool.
- Read more about using Cha Cha for learning here.
For more ideas about effective ways to use cell phones for learning, including research-based strategies, lessons, and more, orderTeaching Generation Text.
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in Huffington Post, EdReformer,Tech & Learning,ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning,The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.