The Pros and Cons of Smart Phones in the Classroom

Image taken from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Group_of_smartphones.jpg

Campus Technology has a very interesting article on how smartphones can be both a teaching tool and a distraction to students. Titled, Smartphones: Teaching Tool or Brain Candy?, they discuss how faculty can use phones as a asset teaching while giving ideas for managing phones in the classroom.

Here at UC Berkeley law we have a slightly different situation. Since almost all students have laptops, smartphones or tablets, faculty members must deal with these kinds of technology questions daily. While a smart phone ┬ámay signify a distracted student, it could also show that a student is researching a topic, or making a note to themselves about something in class. We tend t0 think of these devices as being used for social/entertainment purposes and may not be aware of what kind of potential they have as productivity and learning devices. It’s important to communicate to students what your expectations are for their use of technology in your class. Is it ok for them google search topics in class, or even use Wikipedia?

As the article notes, tools like Poll Everywhere take advantage of each student having internet access. For more information on Poll Everywhere and other polling tools click here. Want to know how you can leverage a connected classroom? Contact me at, jikeda@law.berkeley.edu .

What tactics do you find useful in the classroom for managing student technology? Do you think the internet is a distraction or an asset to learning?

To read the full article on Campus Technology.