These are my notes from the presentation “Cellphones in the classroom? Yes way!” by Ryan Collins at the eTechOhio 2009 conference on Feb 2nd. MY REFLECTIONS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. Presentation notes are available on http://ryancollins.org/wp/etechohio09/. I AM RECORDING RYAN’S SESSION AND MAY PODCAST IT, BUT HE IS RECORDING IT AND IS DEFINITELY GOING TO PUBLISH/PODCAST IT. 🙂

SOMEONE IN THE SESSION SITTING BY ME SAID RYAN IS ONE OF THE MOST HELPFUL EDUCATORS IN OHIO. HE IS THE GUY WHO IS ALWAYS HELPING OTHERS VIA LISTSERV QUESTIONS AND SO MANY OTHER WAYS. I MET RYAN BEFORE MY KEYNOTE THIS MORNING AND HE INVITED ME TO HIS SESSION WITH HIS BUSINESS CARD. SO HERE I AM. 🙂

Ryan on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mr_rcollins

We have about 2000 students in our district, spread out over 7 buildings

We give students lots of opportunities to use multiple operating systems to prepare them for their future

Doing a poll everywhere demo poll
– Can also use poll4.com

If you pay for it, you can ID who is responding to what (know cell phone numbers of submitters)

Now is the most exciting time to be involved in technology and education

We’ve had computers in our classrooms now for 30 years
– Apple IIE has been here for 30 years, since 1977
– mentioning this can help some teachers wake up
– IBM PC in 1981
– Macintosh 1984, brought use the mouse and GUI

I am controlling my presentation now with my iPod Touch
– this computer is more powerful than the desktop computer I had just a few years ago

I am not saying we are going to replace the laptop and desktop with the handheld
– but there are ways the

When you bring a laptop into your classroom for every student, you immediately bring in a wall between you and your students
– because they are going to need to update facebook 🙂
– there are other issues: batteries, power cord issues, etc.

271 million cell phone users in the US
– 32 million Americans don’t have cell phones
– in 1985 only 35 million Americans had cell phones
– so who are those without cell phones? Babies? In prison? Babies in prison? [FUN SLIDE TRANSITION]

According to PEW research in April 2008, 700 teens were surveyed: 71% of respondents already own cell phones, while only 59% own computers

First cell phone call
– Martin Cooper April 3, 1973
– same year of Dark Side of the Moon
– Ohio became the first state to put up road signs in metric units

6 billion minutes of voice calls daily
– 766 minutes per month per user on average

I lot of what I am going to discuss in this session does not have to take place INSIDE your classroom
– it’s scary out there
– all kids having cell phones? That scares people. what is going to happen? Are the kids going to organize a revolt?

www.k7.net provides a free voicemail service
– how many of you have a homework hotline?
– you can do it with this website
– the sound file is then emailed to you
– you can setup different numbers, some for parents, some for students
– you don’t have to give out your home number
– downside: is area code 206 from the state of Washington
– it is free
– there website is kind of 1999″ without many bells and whistles, but it does work

www.youmail.com
– piggybacks on your current cell phones busy answer call forwarding
– visual voicemail for any phone
– customized greetings for groups (when students call in, they get a particular greeting_
– retrive voicemail from your phone, email or the web
– similar to what k7 does, but the downside is you have to give people your cell phone number to use it

Coolest service: www.grandcentral.com
– purchased by Google in 2007
– actually gives you a phone number
– give that number out to your students
– currently not accepting sign ups
– when someone calls your number, they will call your home and cell and see who answers first
– that is a number you can use
– rumors are Google is doing something big with this and will reopen signups soon
– also gives you a ‘web call’ button you can put on your website

Gabcast
– cell phones are a great way to record content INTO the computer
– so kids don’t have to be AT the computer to record
– this can be great

Those are some of the ways you can use Voice in your podcast
– I have 40 slides and 45 minutes, so I am slowing down

TEXTING
– first text message: Dec 3, 1992 – 17 years ago (from the UK)
– first message was “Merry Christmas” on Dec 3rd
– you know you can update your facebook status with a text message, right?
– why do we want to look at text messaging, why don’t we want to call people?
– calling has a time penalty
– my wife at school is not able to have her cell phone on her

almost 200 billion texts sent in 2008

now a little demo
the why of texting
– immensely faster than voice
– having a video playing, showing both the sender and the receiver
– best part: if you know someone who is long winded, they have to be short and fit into 160 characters
– “brevity is the soul of wit” – Shakespeare

another good part: If I have to share something my wife is going to be upset about, I can text it to her and she can have all day to think about it before I see her at night 🙂

My phone is limited to just let me send a text to 10 people, but it just lets them respond to me, not to each other

now service for one to many communications: textmarks.com
– everyone who is subscribed to that word gets a text message when I update it
– students can view responses on the web too, if they don’t have a cell phone with text messaging
– can also do 1 to 1 communication with it (but if you are going to do that, just text their number directly)
– can also do many to many, as a virtual chat room
– nice part of this is you can have this collaboration and no one has to share their cell phone numbers (instructor or students)

I setup a discussion one for this, text 41411 sub discuss
– preface things with the keyword
– to unsubscribe, text “unsub”

Textmarks power is the many to many communications

Now Twitter
– excels in 1 to many
– really no way to do a group chat with Twitter
– twitter just limied to 140 characters

I DIDN’T REALIZE THERE WAS A LENGTH DIFFERENCE IN SMS AND TWITTER. SMS LIMIT: 160 CHARACTERS. TWITTER LIMIT: 140 CHARACTERS.

Twitter is very programmable behind the scenes
– we use this for Kenton schools to announce school closings
http://twitter.com/kentonschools
– story of a teacher who loves this, because the twitter updates come to her phone for school cancellations
– Ryan on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mr_rcollins

Twitter doesn’t have a many to many functionality
– so for eTechOhio attendees, we setup eTechOhio09 on Twitter (http://twitter.com/etechohio09)to get updates from people here at the conference

HEY THIS IS COOL, THE CONFERENCE TWITTER ACCOUNT JUST ANNOUNCED THAT RYAN COLLINS WON AN APPLE TIME MACHINE DRAWING. CONGRATS RYAN!

MMS:
– can send audio, video, etc
– verizon users can send media by sending to cell phone number @vzpix.com

I have a WindowsMobile smartphone
– I use EverNote a lot, they have a WindowsMobile Client
– majority of the articles I wrote for our school tech newsletter I write on my mobile device
– many of you are asking, “how on earth are you typing on that device?”

In Japan, 5 of the top 10 novels were WRITTEN on cell phones

NYTIMES article from 1-20-2008 on 21 year old Japanese woman who write a novel over six months in her senior year of high school, and it went viral

Mobile web discussion [CUT SHORT]

High School examples
– talking about WorldWarII
– debating different aspects
– can text message Google to get information (how many died in a particular battle)
– doing research
– can use Gabcast to interview a veteran and use it as a podcast

AGAIN LIKE WE SEE IN MANY OTHER CELL PHONES FOR LEARNING PRESOS, THIS “APPLICATION PHASE” IS THEORETICAL. WE NEED MORE ACTUAL EXAMPLES OF CELL PHONE USES IN CLASSROOMS. OF COURSE A BIG ISSUE RIGHT NOW IS THERE ARE NOT MANY EXAMPLES. I NEED TO MAKE CONTACT WITH THE EDUCATORS IN OXFORD, KANSAS, WHO ARE WORKING ON A CELL PHONE LEARNING PROJECT THIS TERM.

Middle school example using Twitter
– setup a twitter account for each class
– post info that is coming up: assignments, quizzes, etc.
– students can follow
– you have to be 13 years old to have a Twitter account, but you don’t have to have an account to view the website

Another idea
– 3rd grade class going on a field trip to the zoo
– divide up the class into groups
– have each group document different aspects of the zoo
– use textmarks for many to many communication: reconvene the group when needed
– all free except

issues
– costs
– off task
– inappropriate communications
– filtering
– teacher and student training

students may know how to use technology, but sometimes they are using it inappropriate
– how are students going to learn to do things correctly if we never talk about these issues

I give all my students email accounts in our district at grade 1, through grade 12
– starting with 3rd grade, students according to Ohio edTech standards are supposed to be sending and receiving email

What can we use as a replacement?

Netbooks
– more expensive
– still have battery issues

Ryan’s wife shared a session on iPod Touch in the classroom
– I’D LIKE TO SEE THE LINK TO HER SESSION IF ANYONE HAS IT!

Other possible replacements
– Nokia N800/810
– Game systems: PSP/DSi
– new $180 game system coming out with cameras and more…

email me about questions….

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  • Hi Wes and readers…. I have just started a new role as the Head of Learning and Educational technologies this year. We are working on a framework for allowing mobile devices in the classroom. I would be really interested to see real practical examples of how things are being used. Many of these examples are US only, something that doesn’t help those outside the states.

    Would really appreciate links and thoughts on ways people are using these devices practically… I have my media students doing their storyboarding by using the phone camera to take still shots. Something they did without me even thinking about it – process was take photo, bluetooth to computer, drag into storyboard template.

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  • Our HS is starting to look at student responses systems, and I am pushing hard to use cellphones or iPod Touches instead. I just can’t see spending $100 a clicker when for $229 we could get an iPod Touch and do so much more.

    Hopefully we’ll have more actual examples for next years conference. I’m afraid I will have to write the software so we can use them for notes and polling. 🙂

    Thanks for coming to my session btw!

  • Surely there are better uses for these devices than student response systems? Why are so many US schools getting excited about clickers? Is it your standardized testing based curriculum?

  • Thanks for inviting me to your session, Ryan! I am definitely with you, and with Brett, in seeing MUCH more value to a school purchasing a device like an iPod Touch over something that just clicks responses, even if it will support open text answers like some of the “new” clickers will. I think the student cell phone is the big platform which we have barely begin to think about utilizing for learning in multiple ways, however.

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