BlackBerry and education.
As a teacher, do you have a problem with BlackBerry in the classroom?,,,,,,,, ^_^
How to employ your BlackBerry in the process of education?
How do you make of the BlackBerry "device is useful for the student?"
I don't think we can continue to exclude mobile devices from our classrooms. It is probably much more beneficial for students to teach them there is a time and a place. Allowing students to use their mobile devices at appropriate times is much more likely to teach them appropriate use for such technology than trying to cut it out all together. I think students are going to be using this type of technology whether we like it or not. Allowing them access in a controlled manner is bound to be more effective.
I think the other great use of such mobile devices in education is for the teachers and staff. Most of our teachers had some type of smart phone. We were able to check our email more effectively and communicate with the school as a whole without interruptions to class time. For instance, if there was an important announcement that was really for the teachers and staff only, it could be sent via email. Even teachers not at their computer would know and be able to check the message as soon as possible without stopping their class instruction.
I haven't done it, but I loved this idea - A teacher of ESL had a set of Blackberry equivalent devices for use in her classroom. As students worked on their projects, they were encouraged/required to use the technology to send messages to each other and to the teacher. Talk about using the seemingly automatic motivational factor of working with technological gadgets to support the development of familiarity and force the use of language to communicate!
I think the use of Smartphones in the classroom can be very beneficial, but it can be a slippery slope. I tell my students that they can use a phone when appropriate, i.e. looking up information or listening to music when studying. Unfortunately, students tend to take advantage of these things and will use their phone for inappropriate reasons at inappropriate times. I think as a teacher it is my job to teach kids when to use their phone and what they should use it for. I will probably take a different approach with this next year and forbid phones from the beginning, but allow them very limited times when a phone is acceptable to use.
In my school, students are not allowed to use cell phones and similar devices during the school day, becuase we had numerous incidences of cheating and harassment before the ban went into effect. However my principal carries a blackberry with him, and does weekly informal observations in every classroom. He types his thoughts and questions into his blackberry while he is observing, and later prints them out and gives the teacher a copy. He has a running record of an entire year's observations on every teacher, and can give feedback very quickly.
While phone usage is prohibited by school policy, I have had my students look up information on their phones while I use my school laptop. We can get several quick searches done more quickly and all the students get in on the thought process, trying to come up with the best words for the search. They also seem to enjoy doing something that is otherwise "forbidden."
I think that a Blackberry can be useful in the classroom. The problem which arises is when students are not using the device as instructed. It, like many things, can become a block to education when used outside of the perimeters designated. That being said, to reiterate, they can be an important tool in the classroom when used properly.
A Blackberry, like any mobile device, can be employed quite usefully by teachers in the classroom rather than treating it as a forbidden object. Learners can be asked to use such mobile devices to look for images on the net or communicate with others about a particular topic, for example. I personally feel that teachers do have to change their perspective about mobile devices.