Is It Magic or Science? It became a model for personal and team excellence that produced the greatest dynasty in the history of American sports, the greatest Coach in American sports history and the life of a true American treasure. It also became a "behavioral blueprint" for tens of thousands of successful Americans from all walks of life.
Ferriter Leadership definition essay a recent conference, a team of teachers asked me an all-too-common question: How can we get the educators in our building to embrace cell phones as a legitimate tool for learning? Despite the fact that 75 percent of all kids ages 12—17 have cell phones, educators have done their best to aggressively erase this tool from their classrooms.
In fact, less than 12 percent of students attend schools where cell phones can be accessed at any time—and almost 70 percent attend schools where cell phones are banned from the classroom. Our efforts to control student cell phone use are—at times—noble.
Cell phones can be a real disruption to learning when used improperly. But efforts to eliminate cell phone use are also short-sighted, especially in an era when fewer dollars are available for classroom supplies.
Making the Case To break down negative attitudes toward cell phones as learning tools in your building, try the following. Make cell phones visible.
Most cell phone skeptics I know are worried about sneaky students. My solution is simple: Require students to place their cell phones on the top right-hand corner of their desks when they come into class. The best answer is to force students to act responsibly. Show colleagues and administrators one convincing classroom application.
To make a case for cell phones, you might demonstrate a text-messaging-based polling system like Poll Everywhere, which allows users to create surveys that participants respond to via text messaging.
Students can then text their responses—either as short answers or predetermined codes automatically assigned to each indicator of a multiple-choice question—back to Poll Everywhere. Results are displayed instantly for the entire class to see, are updated in real time, and can be downloaded for future reference.
For instance, science teachers curious about whether their students can accurately convert metric measurements into standard measurements can create quick multiple-choice surveys with Poll Everywhere and instantly see how well their students grasp the content and conversion procedures presented in class.
Use cell phones to replace needed supplies. I first became convinced that cell phones had a place in the classroom when my students were completing a science lab that required timing the melting rate of an ice cube.
Over time, cell phones filled many functions in my classroom. Students looking for definitions to new terms or answers to basic knowledge questions started texting their questions—What is the capital of Cuba? What is the definition of onomatopoeia? What is the speed of sound?
Students also began using the still and video camera features of their cell phones to record the results of their labs for future review and to insert photographs of procedures and materials into lab reports. Think of the money we saved!
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