There is a policy in my syllabus limiting the use of mobile phones in the classroom to emergency use only. It has been part of my class rules for years. But this year I am thinking of changing my view of mobile phones. I recently read an article titled “Texting in Class” by Scott Jaschik about the use of mobile phones during class in higher education. “The study found that more than 90% of students used their mobile phone during class time. Undergraduates reporting using their devices for non-class purposes 11 times a day, on average.”
The article notes that when students were “asked why they were using their devices in class, the top answer was texting (86 percent), followed by checking the time (79 percent), e-mail (68 percent), social networking (66 percent), web surfing (38 percent), and games (8 percent). While students admitted to being somewhat distracted by their own devices and those of others, they reported advantages to using the devices in class. The top advantages they cited were staying connected (70 percent), avoiding boredom (55 percent) and doing related classwork (49 percent).”
Finding a productive way to have the mobile phone used in my classroom is my goal this semester. Since the majority of students will use their phone during class, my challenge is how to get them to use it to enhance my lessons. When I first started working at my university, I created a blog for my Apparel I garment construction course. Students were asking if they could take photos of their garments during class with their mobile phones to show their friends, parents, etc. I decided to create the blog and take the photos myself, which would then be posted for all to see. The blog has also created a record of what my students have done since I’ve begun teaching. It is a very simple blog and uses a free blogging platform. I have often thought of making it more attractive and this may be an opportunity.
If students desire to stay connected, perhaps I can give the students control of the blog during a designated class time. I have already encouraged students to take short videos during my sewing demos so they can access it later if they have questions. Perhaps they can video the sewing demo and load it on the blog to share with everyone and then access as they need throughout the class. They can also post photos of their garments along each step to document the process. This would give the blog more content and would satisfy the students need to stay connected during class time without being a distraction.
Incorporating technology into my classroom has been an interest of mine for some time and I think this might be an appropriate place to do it. Have you incorporated any new technology in your classroom? Would you let students use their mobile phones in class to take photos, videos, or work on blogs? Please share in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.