South High School Social Studies Explores Use of Cellular Phones in the Classroom

Laurie Young, social studies teacher at South High School, is the second teacher in that school to pilot the purposeful use of cellular phones in the classroom. Young willingly shares hear students’ successes. For example, in her SUPA class she has, “used it as a do now (“Text in one discussion question you thought about after reading last night’s article.”) and as closure (“The most interesting thing I learned from today’s discussion was…”). She has observed a significant increase in student engagement, though she is quick to recognize that this alone is not distinguished teaching. What is distinguished is her deep rooted understanding of effective pedagogy. Says Young, “One of the things I really like about it is that we’re actually only using the cell phones for about 5-10 minutes in the class period. The discussion that follows the text responses is where the real value lies, but the students are more engaged because their individual responses have all been recognized and noted within that first 5-10 minutes. Then we get to analyze and synthesize the responses together out loud.” Ms. Young hopes to expand the program to include her Grade 10 Global Studies class.

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