Yesterday my Media Studies students and I had a class discussion about our field trip to Much Music (one of the Canadian music video channels.)  At Much Music, the students got the opportunity to be members of a live studio audience for the popular teen show, Much On Demand.  The celebrities on the show happened to be Bradley Cooper of ‘Wedding Crashers’ and ‘The Hangover’ and Nelly Furtado.  The students found the experience to be very interesting as they got the ‘behind the scenes’ action and really saw the inner-workings of a live television show.

It was also interesting for me as their teacher to sit off stage and observe their behaviour during the show.  The students were very strictly told what they could or not do and the consequences were quite clear if they should misbehave.  It speaks to our technologically advanced society that the students needed to be told that if they had their cameras or cell phones out during the live segments, they would be removed from the audience.  My students commented that during the live segments, their cell phones were getting copious numbers of texts from their friends at home and they found it really difficult to resist reading their messages.  I was proud of my students, though, because they actually obeyed the directors and only read their messages during the commercial breaks.

Observing their behaviour with the cell phones and reading other online discussions about harnessing the use of cell phones in the classroom has started the wheels turning for me.  I’ve seen other educators use the cell phones in a clicker-style idea where the students text the right message to a specific place and it gets projected onto the white board, but I’m not sure how they would be applicable in my English language classroom.  I’m curious though as to how we could get students to use their cell phones in a more productive fashion.  I think I’m going to have to do some summer research into this avenue.

Conversely, I do have some reservations.  How do you address the issue that some students do not have a cell phone or would not want to be using it for school work?  Also, how would parents feel about this?  In my board, I think some parents would be upset as they pay for their child’s cell and wouldn’t want that showing up on the bill or they would not think they are ‘learning.’  I’m hesitant here because I think it’s walking a fine line.  Finally, my school has a ‘no cell phone policy’ and how can I justify having students use their phones in the classroom when other teachers do not allow such behaviour?

It’s a very contentious issue in our school, but I’m open to suggestions and comments.

Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Cell Phones in the Classroom

  1. Here’s something to get your summer research going.
    Vicki Davis has a lot of info on here about how she uses cell phones in the classroom and what she does for students who may not have one or may not be allowed to use one for texting.

  2. Hi,

    I love that you are letting your students experience the ‘behind-the-scenes’ aspects of television production.

    They not only get to see and hear how shows like ‘Much on Demand’ are constructed but also the important part that the ‘ethical & responsible use of technology’ operates in the real world (e.g. restraining themselves from checking their text messages during the live taping.) This is media literacy!

    Kudos to you!

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