Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cell phones and students

Mobile devices are changing education as we know it. Students can have books, the web, and a camera in their pocket or backpack. The possibilities for the use of these devices in class are endless.

I have read books and articles about how kids will follow the rules of cell phone use as long as you set your parameters and are consistent in enforcing it. That has not been my experience this year.

My school's policy on devices is that they can't be seen, heard, or used during school hours unless the teacher allows it. Teachers can allow students to listen to music at their discretion and let students use the devices for instructional purposes. There is talk of becoming a BYOD campus in the near future.

My husband is an administrator in the district where I work. Daily I hear about his adventures of cell phone chasing. Not a day goes by that a cell phone isn't taken up for violating the policy. He thinks that cell phones are the bane of his existence.

We are a divided household. I think that there is great promise in cell phone use in the classroom because I see other schools implementing it successfully. He spends his days dealing with students who refuse to use their phones as instructed.

This experience makes me wonder. Are our students different from students at schools that successfully use cell phones? Have we left out a piece of the puzzle that is affecting our outcomes? Are the successful schools experiencing the same frustrations as we are and just not mentioning them in the articles? I shall continue to ponder...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Clustr Maps....very cool!!!

I am sure you have seen these maps on web sites all over the internet. They show the world and if you look closer you will see the map peppered with red dots. Each dot represents a place in the world where that site has been accessed. The bigger the dot, the more people from that location that have visited the site.

I think this is just cool! It is exciting to jump on my blog or other web site I created and see the locations where visitors are from. I'm old and I get excited to see that someone on every continent (except Antarctica) has visited by blog. Imagine how empowering it must be for students to see how many people in the world have seen something they have created or read what they have to say.

I think finding a way to put a visitors log especially a Clustr Map (www.clustrmap.com) on your library, classroom, or student projects site is a great way to track the impact you and your students are having on the world of information.