Thursday 9 March 2017

Teachers: Unleash the power of your phone!

How to use cell phones in the classroom! 


Top 10 ways to engage students using their phones!

These are the kind of headlines you will find quite often when trawling the interwebs. But how often do we think about how a mobile device can actually make a teacher's life easier? Here are 5 ways your cell phone can save you time and energy...and maybe even allow you to squeeze in an extra cup of coffee!

1. Access your files in a pinch

Whether you use Google Drive (part of the newly named GSuite), Apple's iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive or any other cloud-based storage, these can all be accessed using your smartphone when you are not in front of a connected computer. This happens more often than you might think, especially if you are one of the unlucky "floating" teachers without their own classroom. Being able to jot down scores in a spreadsheet or quickly share a presentation with a colleague before a meeting without having to rush around to find a computer is a great time saver. Phones will never be as good for productivity as an actual computer with a keyboard, but are great in situations like this.

2. Scan and share images 

Thanks to the variety of apps available on today's modern smartphones, the device in your pocket has turned into much more than something that simply makes calls. In fact, most people hardly make any calls on their phones these days! Scanning applications like the wonderful CamScanner for Android or iOS allow you to snap an image of something and then auto enhances it for you to save either as an image or PDF. These could then be shared to your cloud storage for access on any computer. Handy! The quality is often as good as using a traditional scanner; I have even scanned old exam papers this way with amazing results. 

3. Take pictures of student work as evidence of progress

Being asked to show evidence of the progress your students are making, is something modern teachers have to deal with as part and parcel of their profession. Having the ability to snap a quick picture of a piece of work allows you to build a digital portfolio of students' work and removes the dread from this aspect of performance management. 

4. Record audio for orals (without PC + Audacity)

Languages teachers often have to struggle when it comes to preparing for oral presentations: finding ways to record students, and then transferring audio files to the PC afterwards. Using a laptop with Audacity is a great solution, but if you find yourself in a bind, your phone can do a stellar job with apps like Voice Memos on iOS or Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder on Android. Audio files can be renamed and uploaded to the cloud without fuss for you to access from your PC later. 

5. Share great stuff using twitter

Twitter is a great platform for promoting the amazing things happening at your school, and it takes some beating when it comes to capturing they moment and sharing it with your PLN (personal learnings network). Simply snap a picture and share it with the world! Make sure to use appropriate hashtags to make it easy for people to find your tweets (like good ol' #edtech).

OK - I think I might've just given you a reason to get that phone upgrade you've been thinking about, Go on - treat yourself. Oh, and you can also use it for work!

'till next time.

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