Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mobile Phones: Distraction or Tool in the Classroom?

According to the final version of the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) was released during the first week of November 2010, more than 75% of those between the ages of 12-17 own mobile phones (cellphones) in the United States of America.. The latest data available for Australia shows that in 2009, the number of girls who had a mobile phone was 33% compared with boys with 29%. Older children were most likely to have a mobile phone (76% for 12 to 14 year olds), while amongst the youngest group (5 to 8 year olds) only 2% of children had a mobile phone.
This seems to imply that the most widely used mode of communication for boys and girls under 17 years of age is not the desktop computer, the notebook, the netbook or the iPad. Its the mobilephone. Modern mobile phones are now cameras and audio recorders, allowing students to work on multimedia projects.
Anecdotal evidence as well as statistics like those above possibly point to the notion that mobile phones at school are a distraction. And as a result, many schools have policies - both formal and informal - that restrict mobile phone use in the classroom. But our evidence point to a different reality - kids use them a lot, in (without permission and unknowingly to the teacher of course) and out of the classroom. This raises the question: Is it about time that we re-evaluate our policies with regards to the mobile phone and argue for a change in attittudes?
Have a read of this short article by Audrey Watters here...

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