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Teachers Use Cell Phones for Learning

by Jay Douglas, Ph.D.

Schools often look for ways to help students learn. Schools spend millions of dollars every year buying materials that are supposed to help kids learn. But the answer may be closer than many people think—using cell phones.

Some recent studies show that teachers can use cell phones to support learning. Most students have their own cell phone, so it’s like having a computer in your pocket!

Teachers can learn how to use cell phones for teaching. They can take a class at Columbia University in New York. A professor at the university developed a course based on his research. He said schools should use cell phones to support learning because most students already own one.

The course started last summer and is very popular. One of the teachers said that the course is important. She said teachers are interested in using technology to support teaching.

The Secretary of Education for the United States said schools should use cell phones. He told teachers to send homework to students on their cell phones so they can study wherever they are.

Three teachers in England volunteered to participate in an experiment using cell phones. The teachers selected students to participate in the project. The teachers and students listed things students did with their cell phones (see Table 1).

1 Timing experiments with the stopwatch app
2 Taking pictures for reports
3 Taking pictures of the board for notes
4 Receiving text and e-mail reminders from teachers
5 Using calendars
6 Recording teachers
7 Creating movies
8 Listening to podcasts
9 Using GPS
10 Transferring files between school and home
Table 1. Teacher and student uses of cell phones during instruction

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