Monday, February 25, 2013

Taking the "Phone" out of "Smartphone" just makes it Smart!

 I don't know how I could survive a day in the classroom without my iPhone or iPad! I am NOT using my portal device to calling people, texting, or pinning during the day (I save that for after work). In fact, I don't use my smartphone as a phone at all during the day.
Your smartphone has so much to offer!
photo credit: JD Hancock

In the class my smartphone is a/an:

  • Music player - I have "thinking music" playlists and "brain break" playlists 
  • Timer & clock - Clock app that comes with phone
  • Noise monitor - free "Too Loud" app
  • AR book looker-upper - free "Accelerated Reader" app
  • Easy grader - free "Groovy Grader" app
If you have a smart phone that you are currently using in your classroom, or might be planning on using one, let me share a few simple tips I find useful:

1. Lock Your Phone

If it's going to be used in the classroom, set a lock code on your phone. You could also keep it in an area of the class where students cannot get to it. I would hate for some students to be looking at all the embarrassing photographs I take of my dog. (Side note: do you think students would still have respect for me if they knew how many times I have accidentally taken a picture of my phone's background? What about the floor? Embarrassing!) My solution is simple, I keep my phone in my pocket or carry it around when I'm using it as a Music player.
Here is an example of one of those embarrassing pictures I was talking about. 
Checkout Miss Bettie Pug in her cowboy hat! :)

2. Get a Rugged Case

I am on my 2nd Otterbox already (and have only had a smartphone for less than a year) and they RULE! I got my first one from Sam's Club and the newest one is from Amazon. I got this interesting blue designer case from the Defender Series. It's nice to see Otterbox has cute options too! I have dropped this phone so many times - in the classroom, in parking lots, and at home. I am hard on phones, so this is the perfect pretty rugged case for me and my precious IPhone!
OtterBox Defender Series
From: Amazon

3. Explore New Apps

I have seen many people pinning information about apps that students use in small groups, but what about apps that make the job of the teacher easier? Sign me up, please! There are many of these apps out there, I have downloaded and deleted many of them. I might use them in the future, but as a sub I don't have a use for every single one of them. (Free apps I am using: Brainpop, CommonCore, Groovy Grader, Edmodo, AR, TooLoud, TeacherKit). Create folders to help you sort through your apps. I try to add apps to the Pintrest board as I find them: Classroom - Technology on Pintrest.

4. Use the Mute Button

I'm not saying that I am a smartphone expert, but I do know how annoying it is when someone's phone goes off in a movie - only to realize that it's your phone. The same phone that you thought you had silenced. Turning the volume all the way down does not turn off the noise for reminders you have forgotten about setting. This can be a distraction in class! I don't want to deal with an angry mob of unfocused students, so I just slide the mute button on. I'm not using it as a phone anyway!

5.  Have fun and don't be afraid of using new technology in the classroom!

How do you use your smartphone in the classroom? I'm interested in learning more ways of using BYOT in the classroom. Students are encouraged to bring their own technology to the classroom, this includes smartphones, and tablets. As a sub I see a lot of students reading books on tablets and I say, YIPPY! As long as kids are reading, I think it's an awesome thing.

Thanks for visiting,


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