Educational Technology in Teaching
by David Odom
Using cell phones in the classroom to engage and motivate your students
Do you own a cell phone? Of course you do! The educational technology of choice for most Americans is the cell phone. According research, seventy-five percent of adolescents and eighty-eight percent of adults in the United States own a cell phone (Pew Internet Project, 2012). These stats clearly indicate cell phones have become an integral part of how Americans communicate with family and friends.
However, today’s mobile phones are used for much more than simply making calls. Educational technology using smartphones with Internet access such as the iPhone, Blackberry devices, and Android phones, has increased the ease of access to learning content. Smartphones are becoming more portable and affordable. At the same time, these devices are becoming invaluable tools for their users. Some experts believe that the availability and use of smartphones will only increase in the years to come.
Research also indicates that students would like to have cell phones integrated into the learning process (Domitrek and Raby). However, in many learning institutions, students are discouraged or banned from using cell phones as educational tools (Pachler, Bachmair, and Cook; Attewell and Savil-Smith). Nevertheless, because cell phone use is becoming ubiquitous, mobile learning is an emerging and expanding field of educational research.
Mobile learning in educational technology can be defined as using handheld devices in the process of “coming to know and being able to operate successfully in, and across, new and ever changing contexts and learning spaces” (Pachler, Bachmair, and Cook ).
Researchers in the field of mobile learning believe that if the home and leisure life of students is integrated into their learning environments via mobile devices, learners will be more academically successful (Rosen; Attwell; Clough). With this in mind, here are a few ways in which today’s educators can use cell phones as learning tools in the classroom:
- Poll Eveywhere – This free online resource enables educators to create multiple choice and open-ended live polls that allow for real-time text-message student responses. Poll Everywhere has academic features that allow for test taking and attendance tracking.
- Socrative – Socrative is another type of student response system that enables teachers to engage students through educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
- StudyBlue – StudyBlue allows users to create digital flashcards to assist with learning. Teachers can also create flashcards for students to study both online and on-the-go with Apple and Android apps.
Check out these sites for research and more information on mobile learning: