Monday, March 9, 2009

Cell Phone Results

Sara over at Inside Ed just wrote about students texting in class, so I figured I should tell you all the results of my texting experiment. In a word: meh.

Results varied by class. First period was not so into texting their answers. This makes sense since a lot of the students don’t have phones (so why would it be fun?) A few kids seemed into it and asked to do it again, but if not everyone can participate, it’s not worth doing.

In fifth period I had more student interest. Unfortunately, I was almost foiled by a girl who first tried to claim that as soon as they took out their phones I was going to confiscate them (really? Am I that evil?) When that was unsuccessful, she told everyone that I was trying to get their phone numbers (to do what with? Prank call?)

It was pretty cool that as soon as a student voted for an answer choice the bar graph adjusted to show their vote. But, the kids were too into the texting, and not enough into the math part. It ended up being a huge distraction, and pretty much just took up too much time.

When we use technology in the classroom it can’t just be for the sake of using technology (which is what this was). Instead, I have to make sure that either students are learning how to learn technology or the technology actually enhances the lesson in some way. The texting experiment probably took away from the lesson.

One unexpected result was that cell phone usage in class actually DECREASED. When we were done texting, I told them that they’d met their cell phone in the class quota for the day, and that they needed to be put away. And they were.

9 comments:

Betty said...

I recently attended a church service in which people in the congregation texted questions to a guest speaker. The questions would then appear on a large screen. There are a couple of satellite churches, and they participated too. I became more fascinated with the process than the message, but eventually, it will probably just be routine.

Anonymous said...

Hello!

About two years ago, I was introduced to the iclicker system. I teach at the community college level and use it primarily as an in-the-moment review tool. Overall, the feedback I have received from my students is positive (they mostly like the immediate feedback). The downside is that unless you can find funding for a set, students will have to pay for their own remotes.

I have also used the eInstruction system but the iclicker system is a better fit for me (because I use it for quick, in-class reviews).

Just thought you would be interested in this tool too! If you want to discuss this more, post a reply here and I will send you an e-mail. :)

Aria Minelime said...

Have you seen this article about these clickers? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101343866

Maybe it would be less distracting. Apparently there's another article more about cell phones that NPR did too. I'm really interested in your post since I've been pondering these things after hearing this story. (I'm a librarian not a teacher but it was on some library sites.)

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