This week’s assignment for my Ed Tech class was a pretty neat experience. We had to connect with someone from our class and look at how some kind of technology could be used in classes and present opposing viewpoints. I knew right away I wanted to debate the use of cellphones in the high school classroom and my classmate from Regina, Daniel Lee took the challenge! (check out his blog here!)
It’s been a while since I’ve worked with a partner and I’ve never done it virtually so this was new for me. We texted each other to hammer out our idea for how we wanted to present our info, emailed a bit and did all our work in a shared Google Doc. So seamless! We live in such a connected world; it’s astounding. Anyway, read on to see what we came up with…
A Simulation of a Conversation Between a Parent and Teacher
Class email received by parents/guardians of of Mr. Lee’s grade nine Social Studies
Text conversation between Mr. Lee and Ms. Roch…
Ms. Roch – Hey, there. It’s Jay’s mom (from SS 9A), Brenda here. You mentioned in the class email if we had any questions that we should text you at this number. I have a few questions.
Mr. Lee – Of course Brenda! What can I help you with?
Ms. Roch – I’m just worried about everyone being on cell phones in class. They’re already on them so much. I thought classrooms were where they wouldn’t be on their phones but learning from the teachers.
Mr. Lee – I understand your concern. Let me reassure you that I am not allowing the usage of cell phones to hinder the students learning; it is the opposite. I want to teach my students how to use their cell phones professionally and respectfully. The students will not be allowed to use their cell phones all the time. As an example, when we are having a class discussion, I will be asking the students to put away their cell phones and to respectfully listen to their classmates. However, when they are doing, let’s say research, cell phones are a very useful tool to look up information online if we can’t book a computer lab or laptops.
Ms. Roch – That’s helpful to hear, but what about them wasting time and just texting each other or checking their social media? Won’t cellphones be a huge distraction?
Mr. Lee – Students will be on social media during class regardless of cell phones being allowed or not allowed. Yes, by allowing cell phone usage in class I am allowing more chances for them to be on social media, but I hope to teach the students to use them as learning tools rather than just social tools. Cell phones are a part of our daily lives now and will probably be an even bigger part of our lives in the future. I plan on teaching the students how to utilize cell phones for their educational benefit. Also, please be assured that I will limit the use of social media as much as possible. I will be actively roaming the class during the times that cell phones are in use to help ensure students stay on task.
Ms. Roch – But there just seems to be so many articles out there telling us how too much technology are bad for kids. It’s overwhelming.
Mr. Lee – I’m sorry but I have to attend a teacher meeting but in the meantime I hope you will check out these articles!
I will get back to you as soon as I can!
Ms. Roch – The nea.org article states that 58% of kids had cell phones in 2012. This article https://wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2018/01/global-digital-report-2018 states that 68% of people are mobile users. Although it is not restricted to just students, it means that not everyone has a cell phone. What will the students without cell phones do? Won’t they feel left out?
Mr. Lee – I have a number of cell phones that have been donated for my class use, so no one will be without. Keep in mind that cell phones are not the only form of resources the students have. We have an amazing library filled with many books relevant to my class. Like in the nea.org article, working in groups is another option. The school also has laptop carts and many computers throughout the school. However, the problem with laptop carts is that we may not be able to book it for our class, since it is for the use of the entire school. The computers are outside my classroom and if a student or two leaves the classroom to use computers, I will not be able to supervise them.
Ms. Roch – You make valid points, but I still feel that the students will not use their cell phones for the purposes you want. I still believe that cell phones should not be used during class time.
Mr. Lee – Here is an interesting article suggesting why kids do the exact opposite of what they are told.
I have noticed that some students do like to rebel against what teachers tell them to do. To combat this, we will not be taking away their cell phones completely, but teach them to use it to benefit their education.
Also, I would like to point out that we have had our our entire conversation at our own individual leisure because of cell phones! This is a much more convenient way for us to discuss your concerns rather than making time out of your busy schedule to meet with me and talk to me in person.
Ms. Roch – You do have a point there! Thank you Mr. Lee. I feel a little more at ease now about the use of cellphones in class! I hope it works out the way you envision it to! I will be checking your weekly updates!
Mr. Lee – Please, Brenda, call me Daniel. 🙂 Cheers!
There you have it. What are your thoughts about this topic? I find it really interesting to see how my own opinion has changed over the last 5-6 years. Five years ago, I would’ve been dead set against using cell phones in class. Now, I just see so much opportunity!
Now before I sign off, I did let my partner, the amazing Daniel Lee, know that I’d be bragging about him as a partner in this project. So here it is…
If you get a chance to work together with Daniel, do it! Easy going, cooperative, flexible and all around nice guy. Seriously, someone you’ll enjoy working with!
Oh, and Happy Pi Day! Yum, I love pie. Rats, now I want pie. Blueberry pie. Oh dear…