Daily Archives: June 29, 2009

NECC 2009: Cell Phones Inside and Outside of the Classroom

Tammy Worcester presentation (Session links are here):

She basically went through all of the links in her online handout, and what the different sites do. I had seen some last year during Hal Davidson’s session in San Antonio, whose session I liked better), some are new to me, like GeoGraffiti). What was really missing from Tammy’s presentation were ideas for integration of these tools into teaching and learning.

Also, some services like Gabcast and Gcast are no longer free!!

NECC 2009: The Missing Link (SIGML-Sponsored Session)

These are notes from the ISTE SIGML sponsored session “The Missing Link: Preparing Teachers to Integrate SmartPhones Effectively” by Kristin Bennett and Ann Cunningham, with Hannah Mendelson and Elizabeth Jackson.

Teachers are still the missing link, i.e. they’ve sort of been skipped in the process of adoption of mobile devices(administrators and students).

 The session started with a newscast video about a mobile phone project with teacher education students at Wake Forest (small, private university): ubicomp campus since 1999: fully wireless campus, students get laptops and printers as Freshmen/reissued as Juniors 

Teacher ed students used iPaqs in the past (2005-2007) for formative assessment (Data in Hand software for individual assessment).

Now they use SmartPhones (2007-2009), with Exchange and Microsoft Mobile for group assessment and as a classroom teaching tool.

Questions researched:

  • Are hw and sw tools appropriate for formative assessment data collection? Yes
  • Do teacher candidates recognize the value of these tools for the classroom? Yes

Enter SmartPhones: worked with the class of 2008 on the SmartPhone initiative (internally funded): students bought phones, internal funding for data plans.

Practicing teaching is difficult enough without adding a complex technology. Need to determine the variables that influence integration during student teaching.

SmartPhones help with:

  • Assessment, individualization
  • Student motivation
  • Communication
  • Student productivity

Classroom Examples

SmartPhones with Windows Mobile, Office/Outlook, Internet access, synchronization


Put it in their hands!! i.e. have students use the phones for things like letter recognition, teaching shapes (use phone for shape hunt, i.e. take pictures of shapes).

Standards and Assessment

Photos: to show multiple representations (e.g. division). Students and/or teachers can take pictures. Can also take pictures of student work for later assessment

Videos: to record oral assessment

Surveys: to assess student understanding (e.g. SurveyMonkey used on phone): portability, addressing specific learner needs, privatization of grading, immediate feedback that can be used on the spot to adjust instruction.

Learning environments

Document what happens throughout the year.

Behavior Management

Use the phones to make your behavior plan and documentation portable. Can document behavior with video/pictures.

Parent Communication

Can communicate with parents throughout the school day in multiple ways (email, text, voice).

Professional Development

Use phone to document what you or peers are doing for parent conferences, open house, observations, national boards, awards, grants, and reflection.

How will what we have shown you impact your use or thinking of the use of SmartPhones.


How do you handle student privacy? Parent consent.

Funding, etc.: start small, do a pilot (I wonder though, aren’t we really getting past this stage?)

Teacher ed: getting students to understand what the phones can do, a lot of times it’s a matter of them being aware, even if they already own a smartphone.

Using phones for self-assessment (e.g. ESL learners).

I talked to the two presenters who just finished their first year of teaching. It really seems like what they did with mobile phones during their teacher education program has affected how they look at and use mobile technologies for teaching and learning. Even though they are the only ones at their schools using mobile phones as a part of their jobs, they do seem to have support from their administrators, even to the point of adjusted AUPs.

In general, and this presentation is an example of that, the tide seems to be changing as attitudes toward the use of mobile phones in schools is slowly changing, at least use by teachers.