Cell Phones as Clickers on the World’s Technology Podcast

Note: I’ve had a couple of problems with this blog recently–the RSS feed stopped working and I haven’t had any time to post.  I’ve now fixed both problems.

I’m a huge fan of the World’s Technology Podcast from the BBC and PRI.  Clark Boyd puts together a great collection of technology stories from around the world every week–not the usual stories about the latest gadgets, but stories about how technology is impacting society and culture around the world.  Great stuff.

A couple of months back Clark ran a story on Chinese students using cell phones to cheat.  I tweeted Clark and suggested that he take a look at some of the positive ways teachers are using cell phones in the class room.  I recommended he take a look at what Greg Kulowiec has been doing in his 9th grade history classes in Massachusetts.  I’ve blogged about Greg’s use of Poll Everywhere, and Greg’s posted a great video showing how he uses this text-messaging-based response system to ask his students ethical questions about the Holocaust.

Well, Clark Boyd took me up on my recommendation and interviewed Greg about his use of technology in his classes.  The interview ran near the beginning of episode 256 of Clark’s podcast.  Greg talks about how he had his students use their cell phones during class to call people they knew and quiz them about the US Constitution and how he uses his students’ cell phones as part of a classroom response system to engage them during class.

Greg also describes a couple of ways to leverage his students’ cell phones’ camera functions.  He had his students take photos during a class trip to the New England Aquarium and send them to Greg’s Evernote account for later use in an Animoto video, for instance.  He also plans to have his students create their own Evernote accounts so they can take photos of references as they do research, send those photos to their Evernote accounts, and use Evernote’s tagging ability to organize their research notes.  Very cool stuff.  I think it’s time I signed up for an Evernote account.

Props to Clark Boyd for being open to listener suggestions and to Greg Kulowiec for being willing to share his innovative uses of technology.  You can follow Greg’s continuing experiments on his blog, The History 2.0 Classroom.

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