What do you do with students who don’t have cell phones? This question comes up quite often when I talk to educators about implementing cell phones in the classroom. When parents ask, they can sometimes be rude—especially if their child comes home with a permission slip to participate in cell phone activities and they don’t own a cell phone. To address this very valid concern, I would suggest trying the following:
- Be clear and upfront with students when going over cell phone expectations-- put-downs should not be tolerated.
- Design lessons and activities that require students to work in pairs or trios (no more than three).
- Design activities that use cell phones outside of the classroom. For example, have students post a blog response to a question via text message. They can borrow their parent’s cell phone.
- Ask a local cell phone provider to donate a few cell phones for your class. The calendar, calculator, stop-watch and camera functions can be used without active service.
- Use one cell phone as a center/small group learning activity.
- Look for mini-grants or ask your PTA to purchase a few pay-as-you-go cell phones (TracFones).
I would also suggest monitoring interactions between students during the activities and address any issues immediately--just as you would if they were sharing crayons or markers :-)