Teaching Gen Text authors explain why cell phones should go to school

My co-author Willyn Webb and I had the opportunity to speak with "Tech Page One - Insights from the Evolving World of Tech" to explain why cell phones should be allowed in the classroom. You can read the entire piece at BYOD Goes to School,

Here is what we said during our interview with the author of the article.

Once considered a distraction, smartphones are now being used by teachers to expand teaching options

Lisa Nielsen, who blogs at The Innovative Educator and co-authored “Teaching Generation Text,” advocates for cellphone use in classrooms. She has taught students how to record podcasts, use Twitter and post photos to Flickr with their phones.

“My philosophy is that we should be preparing students for the real world, and it’s a world in which we rely on our cellphones constantly,” Nielsen says. “We can engage learners in really powerful ways that were never before possible.”

How cellphone capabilities are changing learning

Willyn Webb, co-author with Nielsen and a high school counselor and assistant principal in Colorado, says that when she started teaching only one video camera was available for her students. Now, thanks to smartphones, every student has the capability to take photos and video, and to stay in the loop when they are not in class.

Apps that Webb has used include Celly, which allows teachers to text students while not revealing phone numbers, and Poll Everywhere, which helps teachers conduct polls through text messages.

With their use of cellphones, students at Webb’s alternative high school are taking on more learning, even without being asked, she says. One time, during a brainstorming session, she took notes on the board and, instead of having students write down the information, she told them to snap a photo with their phones.

“Since they had the picture of the notes in their phones — and the phones are part of their real lives and real worlds — they made a decent amount of progress [at home],” Webb says. “It was a homework assignment I didn’t have to assign. It was part of the device they know, love and always have with them.”

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 places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.