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Stop swimming upstream with tech. These strategies can harness cellphones to enhance the learning experience. It’s no surprise that for many teachers, the cellphone is a constant push and pull between students, teachers, parents, and administrators. But what if there is a way to keep everyone happy

Oct 08, 2018

Stop swimming upstream with tech. These strategies can harness cellphones to enhance the learning experience.


It’s no surprise that for many teachers, the cellphone is a constant push and pull between students, teachers, parents, and administrators. But what if there is a way to keep everyone happy? (Gasp.) And even use them to urge our students toward college and career readiness? Using this hand-held technology to our benefit is one way teachers can teach without a battle.

1. Students Teach Students: The Jigsaw Method

Much of college and career readiness is currently centered around the idea of “self-starters” or students who are able to self-teach — using technology. Many college and secondary education institutions are moving away from the traditional education vision of teacher-directed lessons and moving toward student-centered learning.

A prime example of this new age strategy is the jigsaw method. The instructor assigns students and/or groups pieces of a lesson. It’s up to students to use their own technology to do the research, understand the lesson, then present it to the rest of the class. Essentially, students are building the lesson and resources to deliver the content. This may come in the form of handouts, presentations, videos, podcasts, or any other variety of media. This is a powerful method that allows students to work together and gives them ownership of the lesson.

2. Study Strategies and Test Review

Studying for exams can be an exhausting task — and one that doesn’t always interest your average learner. Have you ever allowed your students to use their personal technology to review? For some subjects, it may be a key to an engaged classroom.

For example, students can use Kahoot to create quiz games testing knowledge on anything from English to algebra. Teachers can easily access questions and answers on the website or, if they wish, design their own set of questions and answers. Use a projector or SMART Board to show the questions and answers. Questions are timed, and students’ instant gratification needs are met through a scoreboard shown after each question. Students may work independently or in teams to win the game, and the teacher wins every time since all of the students are being exposed to review materials. It’s a win-win across the board!

3. Online and Flipped Classrooms

Technology is fun and exciting, right? Well, it’s also practical — it can give students time to apply what has been learned during class time under direct supervision of the instructor. In a flipped classroom, students watch videos of the instructor during what would normally be homework time. (Learn more about flipping your classroom here)

When your students are back in class, they can apply what they learned (on their cell phones!) in the classroom. The teacher can now observe the lesson’s application, instead of sending them home with homework. Any issues or misunderstandings can be dealt with immediately, rather than waiting until the following day for students to return to class. Once tasks are completed, students may then submit their work via online classrooms — which is the norm for university classes and gives your students a leg up on college readiness.

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