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Students Gathered with Devices

Smartphones in Class: Not What You Think

by Tam Harbert

District Administration

Article excerpt

Apps unlock ‘a-ha moment’

Teachers at Southwest High School in Jacksonville, North Carolina, allowed students to bring their smartphones to class to watch short math videos. It was supposed to be a supplement to instruction; instead, the students used the technology to teach themselves.

Our take

Just Put a Smartphone in Their Hands and See What Happens

Smartphones can be an annoyance in the classroom but, in this case, students used the smartphones to think creatively about how they might capture classroom activities in meaningful ways. What might your students do, and learn, if left to their own devices?

At Southwest High School in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after watching short math videos on their smartphones, students decided to videotape each other solving math problems and to save those videos for their own access later. In other cases, students have filmed themselves “reporting” on various events, while on field trips or while engaged in various types of competitions or other activities. Developing lessons around these examples may help to add interest and boost engagement in your classrooms. One rate-limiting factor, of course, that must be considered is student access to these devices.