I don't police cell phones as strictly as most teachers because I really think the benefits of cell phones outweigh the harms. I know this is an unpopular opinion, and while I don't think students should have total freedom with their phones (everything in moderation, yes) I do think there is a place for smart phones in the classroom, especially a science class. The amazing thing is....when students are actually engaged, most of them can police their own use of cell phones without my help. If I can train students to self regulate with technology, that not only takes the stress off of me, but it makes the students feel less irritated from having an adult constantly berate them for being on their phones. Figuring out how to design a lesson that engages students productively with their smartphones is the hardest and most rewarding challenge of teaching for me this year.
Here are six ways to use smartphones in the classroom
1. Gimkit and Kahoot
While training students to be responsible with technology takes a lot of effort, I do think it's worth the effort to get students to self-regulate rather than banning phones all together. As a fellow Gen Zer/Millennial I actually agree with the students on a lot of their smartphone habits. I too take pictures instead of notes. I have my notes organized into photo albums on my phone. I look the periodic table up on the internet rather than carry a paper copy around with me all the time. Trusting the students to use their phones productively is a big leap of faith, but worth the effort in the long run.