February 17, 2009
Forget the laptop debate ... how about cellphones in the classroom?
This past sunday's New York Times brought this fascinating article about technology in the classroom, headlined "Industry Makes Pitch That Smartphones Belong in Classroom." Here is how the article starts:
The cellphone industry has a suggestion for improving the math skills of American students: spend more time on cellphones in the classroom.
At a conference this week in Washington called Mobile Learning 09, CTIA, a wireless industry trade group, plans to start making its case for the educational value of cellphones. It will present research — paid for by Qualcomm, a maker of chips for cellphones — that shows so-called smartphones can make students smarter.
Some critics already are denouncing the effort as a blatantly self-serving maneuver to break into the big educational market. But proponents of selling cellphones to schools counter that they are simply making the same kind of pitch that the computer industry has been profitably making to educators since the 1980s.
The only difference now between smartphones and laptops, they say, is that cellphones are smaller, cheaper and more coveted by students.
I wonder if any law prof has figured out how to take the digital teaching revolution to the cellphone. I can imagine (and would generally endorse) students using their cellphones to keep up with my class blogs or to process e-mails outside the classroom, but I am not yet sure how I could effectively integrate the cellphone in my classroom teaching. But if students get accustomed to using their cellphones for homework in grade school, law professors will eventually have to learn how to surf on this new digital wave.
Posted by DAB