Putting Smartphones To Work

Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images


Having already blogged about efforts to overhaul curriculum in Texas through online courses, I’m taking the opportunity to look at and respond to some ideas about using technology in class, specifically smartphones.

I feel like I’ve used technology in many ways while teaching, from google docs for collaborative work to GIS mapping as a way to offer students artifacts and information. Smartphones, however, remain a challenge for me to integrate. For that reason, I turned to the internet to dig up some ideas on how to use. Nine ideas for using smartphones in class are outlined in a January 2, 2017, article from the Center for Digital Education: research, Twitter, social media, text messaging, calendars, discussion forums, student response systems, photos and videos, and audio recording.

I thought the article’s suggestions regarding research, Twitter, and audio recording were most interesting. The article suggests having student do quick, real-time research on their smartphones. I think this would be awesome, and something I could easily add to the group work I already have them do. They could take a moment to find an interesting article or interpretation to bring up to the class during our class-wide discussion. This may also be a good time to talk to students about how they can find quality research.

The article also suggests using Twitter as a place to post due dates or track hashtags on a particular topic. As I consider how best to teach HUM 1324 online over the summer, this is something I will seriously consider. I first got serious with Twitter when I began working as a reporter. I would often live tweet meetings that were of great public interest or when I covered state government. People loved it and were really interactive. I’d love to have students tweet while they were reading one of the two novels we read during class.

As far as using Twitter to announce assignments, meh. All of that is on the syllabus. There is A LOT of information students need on there and I’m not a fan of beginning to direct them away from it. They need to be pointed there. I know they don’t look at it closely. I know I have to say “it’s on the syllabus” a million times a semester. But I don’t see Twitter as a better option. It is just another place for students to look. I send updates and reminders via canvas to their emails. I assume they already have to open their email every day. I think a reminder text would be really awesome in this regard, but I think it is creepy to ask students for their numbers or What’s Up App info. Is it creepy? I’m even old enough to remember using the phone book like crazy, and I still think having people’s cellphone numbers is a bit creepy.

Lastly, I assign a creative project as the final assignment in my HUM 1324 class, and many make a short film or record a song they wrote. I would like to find ways to use more audio or video making in the classroom. I don’t particularly want my lectures to be recorded, but I could see students responding to readings via video.

OK, hivemind. What ideas do you have to incorporate smartphones into the classroom?




Filed under Preparing the Future Professoriate

14 Responses to Putting Smartphones To Work

  1. Mobiles devices will control the future!!

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  13. Wonderful post. I love your critical lens. I also worry about quality control when things get too easy to post and share on line. Look at the recent outburst of fake news and the role that facebook and other social media giants have played in spreading false information. The other thing at risk is quality of life for academics. If the whole game turns into a popularity contest, everyone starts to value their work on the whims of internet trolls (whether academic or not) . The portrayal of false images is rampant in social media, imagine a world where research must be equally manicured before it can be shared, and the self worth of the people writing the papers gets entangled in the whole mess!

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