The Cellphone as A Teaching Aid
We all knew this was coming. It wasn’t really all that long ago that phones did only one thing: they made phone calls. Now, there is almost nothing that a phone can’t do! I really realized this the other day I saw that a friend was using his phone as a speedometer because his wasn’t working properly. Apparently, the phone knows about how fast it is going (probably with the same technology used in map apps).
It is no surprise that cellphones are now being used as teaching aids in the classroom. There are quite a few good apps that have been made for this purpose. Here is an example of some of the many choices out there: https://www.classdojo.com/toolkit/today/
There are a large number of ways in which phone apps can be used to create a better learning environment in the classroom. One of the simplest ways that it can help is by providing a system of instant communication between parents, students, and teachers. This allows the teacher to make any kind of announcements in a way that everyone will instantly receive. With the huge amount of time that kids spend on their cellphones, this is a natural match. As any experienced teaching professional will tell you, proper communication is one of the keys to success.
The various classroom apps can often be used as a timer and a datebook in order to help the student keep better track of the deadlines that they need to meet, whether that be a one or two day deadline for a homework assignment, or a 30-minute deadline for a quiz. This can be a great way to add a better sense of structure to the day. After all, better organization breeds better results.
One of the best ways to make use of such an app is to use it for the dissemination of a daily classroom plan, complete with an exact timetable of topics and activities. This allows the student to better understand what is expected of them and what the day will entail. A more well-prepared student is usually a more successful one.
Most of these kind of apps also allow the teacher to manage an active database of all the students in their class. This makes it easier to track attendance, and also to assist the teacher in their efforts to evaluate both progress and behavior. You can also use this database (in most cases) to select a student at random. This is useful in several ways. First of all, you can call on a random student every once in a while just to see if they are paying attention, and to encourage others to pay attention as well. And of course, a random selection makes it impossible for anyone to accuse you of playing favorites!
A teacher or other instructor can also take advantage of cellphone apps to encourage a greater degree of interaction between students. One way of doing this is to divide them into teams or at least two and give them a relatively big task to do. While we are a somewhat individualistic society, the importance of teamwork cannot be overestimated. After all, teamwork built the pyramids, Stonehenge, and most of the other monuments of the ancient world. And if teamwork can build things that we are still admiring thousands of years later, it definitely warrants a distinguished place in the classroom.