Cellphones + Teenagers + EFL = ?

Break the Ban?

I was feeling unusually energetic at a co-ordination meeting last week (too much coffee no doubt) and I managed to A) convince my HOD that cell-phones in the classroom ”is probably worth looking into” provided that “you can get the administration to see things your way” , B) blackmail talk my dear teaching partner Çiğdem into joining the madness project.

Now we have three weeks to come up with a brilliant presentation which will convince the administration that mobile phones should be allowed in the grade 8 English classrooms when we return to school in September. So far we’ve brainstormed a list of questions we believe they’ll want answered in order to give us the thumbs-up.

1. Obviously we’ll have to make our objectives clear. What exactly do we want the kids to learn? (and whatever it is better be on the curriculum list for grade 8). 2. How is it going to happen? They may not need detailed lesson plans but a rough plan would probably be wise. 3. The million-dollar question: Why in God’s name do we absolutely have to use cell-phones to get it done, especially seeing as they are banned at our school? 4. How are we going to make sure the phones end up functioning as tools for learning rather than as tools for distraction? Finally, 5. How do we intend to measure our success (or utter lack of such)? How will we know whether or not the phones helped our students learn (or at least made the process of learning more fun for them)?

Lots of questions and few answers, yet. I’m hoping to have them all ready in a few weeks and then post “the brilliant plan” here… In the meantime I’d sure appreciate any hints, tips and links/resources that could help answer one or more of the above 5 questions!  It would be really great if I could find teachers involved in similar “experiments” in a regular Primary School  and with teenagers or YL (not adults/young adults, and not at an evening/weekend course or “language school”).  Anybody?

Wish me luck!


8 thoughts on “Cellphones + Teenagers + EFL = ?

  1. Hey Karin,
    Congrats on taking initiative! I can’t wait to hear how it all goes for you. I have some activities all ready to go on texting with teachers. I’ll let you know when they are posted on the ESL-Library blog.

    I’m not sure if you were at this #edchat or not. Here is a summary (the chat was about smart phones, but I think you’ll still find some useful links and ideas).

    Good luck!

  2. Hi Karin,

    Great to hear you are embarking on this interesting sounding project. On our current mLearning teacher training course, a participant has just posted a link to a project that has been running for the past two years in Switzerland, where kids are using smart phones in class (and they are also allowed to take them home). You might want to check out the project website http://www.projektschule-goldau.ch/das-iphone-projekt – scroll down and click on the American flag for an English version.

    Hope this helps! Nicky

  3. Hi Esen, Tara & Nicky,

    Thank you for your support and for the links. I will definitely check them out. I am in the process of preparing the “killer presentation” for the admin right now and I really appreciate the help! We are lucky to have students who already own either i-phones or blackberries (apparently those are the only “cool” alternatives these days) and so the school won’t have to invest anything. That’s one of our main “selling point” since as a department we only have one videocamera and one digital camera to share. As Shelley told me at IATEFL “if you have all that free technology, why not use it?”. I’m very hopeful that we’ll get this off the ground and personally I’m certain it will be a success. Time will tell!

  4. Some schools in the US are doing a “Bring Your Own Device” program. I think the NEA has it in their newsletter this month. I will look around and post the link when I find it. I think this is a marvelous idea. Keep up the good work!

  5. Hi Jean, I would really love to hear more about that program! My kids will also be bringing their own phones; we’ll be at the gate collecting them as they come to school in the morning and then giving them back again by the gate in the afternoon as they leave …

  6. Thank you so much Nicky!
    Our attack-plan is getting sneakier by the minute!

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