Mobile phones are powerful hand held computers that can be used as learning tools. They can also be a distraction to students and have been banned from many schools. However students like their mobile phones and if used in claver ways they can be used to inspire and motivate.
Idea 15 – Buy a cheap SIM card for an old mobile phone and use it for voting and gathering feedback from students.
The last time I up-graded my phone I bought a pay as you go SIM card for my old hand set. It cost me £5. I can now use this phone and the number that goes with it to collect text messages from students. Because I never ring anyone or text anyone with the phone the £5 out lay has been my only cost.
Many students have contract phones or pay as you go deals which include free text messages so the outlay for the student is minimal.
Idea 16 – Contact the students by mobile phone through free web sites such as cardboard fish.
To save on money you can use web sites like Cardboard Fish to text students. It’s great for reminding them about deadlines or to bring permission slips back to school. It does depend on you having their mobile phone number. However many schools keep this data on their Management Information System.
If your schools has truancy call you will also probably have call parents. With call parents you can send out text massages and automated voice messages to parents. Try using this for positive praise or to let parents no that there is test / preliminary examination coming up. You can send out multiple messages from the school office in a matter of minutes and it cost half the price of a second class letter.
Idea 17 – Get pupils to enter key Geography deadlines into their mobile phone calendar.
The good thing about using a mobile phone calendar (if students know how to use them) is that you can get them to set an alarm to tell them when to do the homework and to remind them the night before about a test.
It is important to remember that just because you (the teacher) don’t know how to use the calendar on your phone or you don’t have a calendar on your phone. That you still should suggest the idea to students. If they don’t know how to do it get them to write the homework down in the normal way (homework diary). I can guarantee that by the next lesson they will have learnt how to do it (they would much rather use their phones than write!).
Idea 18 – Use mobile phones as a fieldwork note book. Save data as a text message for later analysis.
Students don’t like walking around the town with clipboards collecting data. It’s not cool. But if you ask them to use their phone to collect the data, they quite like that. Information can be recorded as a text message and then either texted back to the classroom (see Idea 14 above) or copied up later.
Idea 19 – Use the phones voice recorder, video capture and camera facility to collect photographs, record interviews and conduct questionnaires.
Students will no if their phone can do these things or not. If their phones can, why not give them the option to use their phones for conducting fieldwork. Not only will it help them remember the interviews but it will also give you proof that they have actually done the work. It will also get around the problem of a lack of department digital camera.
See my blog entry from the 12th June when I conducted some controversial mobile phone fieldwork with great success.
Idea 19 – If you can speak well under pressure, you can write well under pressure.
One thing that I have been playing around with is getting students to speak the answers to examination questions into their phone or Mp3 player voice recorder.
As soon as they know they are going to be recorded and that you are going to playback their responses they really start to think about what they are going to say. You can also get students to imagine that it was a written response and to give themselves a mark. If it’s not full marks they have to record it again. The thinking skills involved in this exercise are then transferable to paper. Tell students to speak their answer (in their head) before writing their response. Watch the quality of their writing improve!
One last point
One last point
The question of technology and the digital divide comes up when talking about mobile phones, voice recorders and Mp3 players. I’ve gone down the route of buys Mp3 players with voice recorders for the school library. You can get then for a cheap as £20 and although they might not be the best or top of the range, they are definitely fit for purpose. They have been bar coded and they are signed out by the school librarian in the same way as you sign out a library book.