Basic Techniques to Handle the Cell/Smartphone in the Classroom
The phone in the classroom issue has been subject to debate on many platforms. When we talk about technology in learning we are usually referring to mobile devices, laptops and internet technologies. From a short informal discussion amongst lecturing staff members, the cellphone has proved to be the classroom’s greatest enemy. “There is nothing worse than a cellphone ringing whilst you are lecturing” says one colleague. My suggestion for lecturers is the following. The next time a cellphone rings during your class:
Ask the student to answer their phone in class and request the rest of the class to be silent while that particular student attempts to explain what they have
learnt to the person on the other end of the phone. This might encourage fellow classmates to swicth off their phones or put them on silent. Let it be a rule that in your class, if a phone rings, you answer it and explain to the person on the other end of the phone what you have learnt in that lesson or in the preceeding lessons.
Another way of using cellphones to your advantage is to have class activities in which students google some topics (under discussion) and share their findings with the rest of the class. When students do such activities, remind them to put their cellphones on silent in order to avoid disruptive ringtones. Ofcourse, there are always issues of insufficient airtime, however there will be those curious learners who will do the searches and share their findings. This technique further benefits the learner in that they gain important life long learning or self-directed learning skills. It teaches students to be explorers of knowledge and not to rely on only one or two knowlegde sources (lecturer and prescribed text-books in this case). Please share your thoughts or any other simple techniques that can be applied to the cellphone/smartphone. Other techniques such as using tweeter feeds, or any other specialised app cannot be regarded as basic techniques. I would like to hear of techniques that do not require one (lecturer or students) to learn or install a new application on their devices.