Tuesday, 9 June 2015

How do you motivate your students to reach their full potential?


 

How do you motivate your students to reach their full potential?

 

While motivating students can be a difficult task, the rewards can be really worth it, because teaching a class full of motivated students can be enjoyable for both teacher and students. As a teacher, I try to do my best to make learning fun and inspire my students to reach their full potential.

 

Here is what I do to get my students excited about learning:

 

- I try to get creative, by changing around the structure of my lesson plan. I  try to create a stimulating environment using  videos and discussions instead of lectures, or movies and visual aids.

 

- I try to get the students involved and teach them responsibility by giving each student a job to do (tidying up the classroom, turning on/the computer and the smart board, working in groups and assigning each a task or role)

 

- I always encourage students; If I give them positive reinforcement, they are usually more likely to be enthusiastic about learning, as they feel their work is recognized and valued. I try to make them feel important by praising them for their contributions to the lesson

 

- I offer my students small incentives, like better grades to students who create an original multimedia project or coach struggling classmates in their collaborative or remedial activities. This kind of reward usually encourages students to work harder.

 

- I relate lessons to students' lives. It's important to demonstrate how the subject I teach (English for computer users) relates to my students and that they will use it in their career.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Digital storytelling


How do you teach your students digital literacy? 

I'm always looking for creative ways to learn and produce. With the help of all the great tools out there, I want to make sure my students gain digital literacy and become fluent in finding and evaluating information, creating and collaborating.

For example,

I allow  students to maintain webpages that they can share and collaborate on with their peers:

http://carello-dicarlo.wix.com/bigchangetofacebook

and

I have students create digital stories that they can share and publish. Example of digital storytelling:

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/664414689190477824


 

 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Can games actually be useful instructional tools?



 

Can games actually be useful instructional tools?

 

Game- based  learning is one of the major trends affecting education in the next five years. Some say the future of classroom learning should be digitized and “gamified,” so that students barely notice they are learning. Is it a positive or negative trend in education? Why?

Is it true that:

computer games give students a chance to learn at their own pace, take risks, cultivate deeper understanding, fail and want to try again and, ultimately, succeed in ways that too often elude them in traditional school settings?

computer games are essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to

    problem solve?


Some interesting articles here:

http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/trends/1861-videos-to-learn-about-gamification-in-education

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/neurologist-makes-case-video-game-model-learning-tool

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/tag/games/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-video-games-are-the-future-of-education/






    


Friday, 29 May 2015

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Thursday, 16 April 2015

How I've tried to reinvent the classroom for the Digital Age



Both iPad and the flipped approach have changed the way teaching and learning occur in my classes.  Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this teaching technique is that it allows students to review the multimedia lessons I created for them, anytime, anywhere on their digital devices, reserving class time for in-depth discussions or class projects.

Flipped learning is more about "how" students  learn, as opposed to "when" they learn.  Using Google Drive, Facebook and Vimeo, they can collaborate and stay connected with me. What they used to do in the classroom (listening to me explain a concept) is done instead in a video format that the students watch at home for homework. Similarly, what used to be done at home (namely studying) is done in the classroom, where students can talk to me and learn with each other in collaborative activities.

Adopting iPad, letting students use and share their personal devices and the flip teaching method added to the fun: my teaching style is now more dynamic and motivational than traditional teaching: lower level thinking skills, such as lectures, are relegated to outside the classroom, while the higher order skills of applying, evaluating and creating are done during class with the me. Technology has helped me create personally customized instruction, engaging group work, and lessons that keep the class on-track.

I usually begin by introducing an idea on my website (saponar.blogspot.com), then after a brainstorming session, I explain the concept and let the students research further on their devices.  Students work in small groups and help each other, coaching those that are slower to catch on. Together they create multimedia projects that they present to the class and then publish in a digital portfolio.

When I walk around the classroom these days I see my students fully engaged on a regular basis - much more so more than would otherwise be the case using traditional teaching. The manner in which my students are interacting with each other and with me is quite remarkable, ie. they feel that they are in control of their learning in a student-centered classroom.  

While the content still remains the focus of my teaching, I think technology can enhance learning at every point in a lesson. As an early BYOD adopter in my school, I have seen increased learning outcomes and test scores. The current generation of students has grown up with technology and want to use it in every aspect of their daily lives — including school. Students are now some of the most enthusiastic and savvy users of mobile computing devices. They keep their beloved iPhones on them at all times, and are not just using them to communicate with friends or download music. In fact, they use them in their collaborative activities and they believe that mastering the latest technology skills will improve their educational and career opportunities; they take notes, collaborate on class assignments, conduct Internet research and use cloud- based apps to create digital artifacts.

This is how technology has improved teaching and learning:

- Student participation has increased. Students have become engaged in whatever they are doing with their personal devices, including classwork, which now is even more interactive

- Learning has become student-driven. Teaching in the digital age is becoming less about directly transferring knowledge and more about showing students how to sift through vast amounts of information to find the knowledge they need. BYOD has changed my teaching model. With their mobile devices students have more authority over their own learning. They can pose questions and do research instead of just listening to my lectures.

- Student collaboration and communication have increased. My students use their iPhones to communicate with their peers and with me. BYOD provides students with far greater opportunities to interact virtually with me and work with other students on assignments, projects and content creation.
Instruction has become personalized. I use media to meet different learning styles. Then, all students can learn and excel at their own pace. By allowing my students to follow along with my interactive, multimedia lessons on their devices, I give them more control over the pace at which they learn. Students spend countless hours outside the classroom on their mobile devices. So, why not use that to my advantage? I let them use their devices as engaging learning tools in the classroom. Then, they can easily bring their homework, educational games, projects with them. Everything they need to continue learning outside the classroom can be accessed anytime, anywhere, with the swipe of a finger.

- Students enjoy a new way of learning. Incorporating digital devices into the curriculum has helped me transform my direct instruction methods into project-and inquiry-based learning opportunities. This pedagogical approach helps students learn by doing and gives them ownership of their education.















Thursday, 2 April 2015

The 4 C's of Technology Integration


The 4 C's of Technology Integration

If you Google "four c's of technology integration" you’ll get links to a myriad of "c-words" including Creativity/Creation, Consumption, Curation, Connection, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking. All of these are important elements of learning and can be enhanced with the use of technology, but for the sake of this article, I am going to focus more on what devices themselves can do, so my four C's are the following:                     

Creation: Allowing students to use technology for creation purposes allows them to tap their creative juices for presentations of knowledge learned. There are an unending number of ways this can be done via apps and websites. (See this spreadsheet for some of my favorites). Opportunities for creation are only limited by your students’ inability to think creatively and any limitation you as a teacher place on your students. I am a fan of not limiting the students and allowing them to choose how they want to "present." A well-written rubric allows a teacher to grade any content in any type of presentation fairly. I prefer one rubric for any presentation style, but Kathy Schrock has a great list of rubrics herethat you might find helpful when creating rubrics for yourself.

Consumption: Allowing students to use technology to ascertain large amounts of knowledge gets a bum rap at times. When iPads first came out, there was a large, vocal group of people who said, "All you can do on an iPad is consume." But since the iPad’s launch, app makers have changed how we view devices. I think the educational community has felt the need to stand up for the iPad so much that many have stopped seeing the value of using technology for consumption. This articleis a great read that looks at both sides of the issue.

I love the fact that I can read on a device, because it is always with me. I also find great, daily value in watching YouTube videos to learn more. As a teacher and an individual, I value always having access to information. Sometimes, I even choose to read on my iPhone — and even create there! There is data out there that says students don't learn as well using a device to read, but also some very recent reports that say that isn't always the case. As screen displays continue to improve, I think we will see more and more schools choosing to use e-books and assign work electronically to model to their students the green behavior of a "paper-free" classroom. 

Curation: According to Beth Kanter, "Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the Web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme." While basic Google searches do this based on factors we may or may not agree with, true curation using a device is driven by a person’s research. Teaching our students how to sift through all the topical information available to them on the Web is a valuable tool. 

We are at a place where it can be hard to distinguish good sources from bad. We are also at a place where it is unclear whose job it actually is to teach a student how to do good Web-based research. How does your school teach your students and teachers how to curate? Does your school force students to use educational databases for their research? Do you teach them how to curate using Google? Do you just accept anything as long as it is cited correctly? This is the area in which I feel I have a lot of room for growth.

Connection: One big advantage to technology is that it allows the teacher not to be the only authority in the classroom. So many teachers are connecting with other teachers, writers, authority figures and leaders to learn more about the topics addressed in their lesson plans. Whether through FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, e-mail or Twitter posts, teachers are contacting others to knock down the four walls of their classrooms and allow students to see beyond their current worlds. Last year, I worked with a sixth-grade Eastern Civilization social studies teacher while her students were studying the Philippines. We Skyped with a friend of mine who is a teacher and Philippine nationalist. The students loved it! 

Another valuable tool is allowing students to connect to each other through collaboration. We see shared notes, allowing students to proofread each other's writing, and group projects taking connectivity to a new level that can only be achieved because of the immediate feedback Google Drive allows. 

I will leave you with this question: Are you using all the 4 C's of technology integration in your classroom? Do you see the value of all four? Just as we don't want to limit our students’ learning, why limit the tools we place in their hands? We have to be careful in finding the balance of the 4 C's that best meets the needs of our students. We have to be careful not to allow technology to become a babysitter; but when used appropriately as an enhancement to learning, technology offers things to our classroom that have never been available to the teaching profession in the past. I find that exciting because I think we are more likely to teach our students to be lifelong learners now more than ever before — partly because access to information and a constant audience is just so ding dang easy now. 

About the Author

Julie Davis is an instructional technologist at the K-12 Chattanooga Christian School (TN). She is a Common Sense Media certified educator, co-moderator of the educational Twitter chat #ChattTechChat and a planning member of #edcampgigcity.You can read her blog at http://techhelpful.blogspot.com. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

10 Reasons Flipped Classrooms Could Change Education

SOURCE: D. Frank Smith, at EDTech



Today's classrooms are outfitted with the latest technologies, but too often the teaching methods don't take full advantage of the options these tools afford.

Flipping the classroom (inverting the time spent on lecturing and homework ):

1) Maximizes Class Time

By moving instructional time out of the shared learning space of the classroom, teachers are afforded much more time to help students hone their new skills.

Caveat: Learning what works best with each group of students takes time and reflection.

2) Individualizes Instruction

Asynchronous learning allows students to learn at their own pace.

Caveat: Not all schools are supportive of such a learning structure.

3) Creates Peer Learning Opportunities

Flipping the classroom can address problems inherent in traditional instruction, such as losing students 30 minutes into a lesson. Kids can review online lessons multiple times while at home to ensure they understand the core concepts. This teaching technique also creates opportunities for students to help one another by collaborating on projects.

4) Improves Effectiveness 

While there is not a treasure trove of data on the flipped classroom, the existing data show that teachers are reaching skill proficiency more quickly and in larger numbers. Researchers have also noted improvements in student behavior, fewer disciplinary actions and higher graduation rates, Fulton noted.

Caveat: There are as yet no large-scale studies on the teaching method.

5) Excites Teachers

The flipped classroom breaks the traditional isolation associated with teaching. By sharing their flipped-classroom materials, teachers are learning more about their own instructional methods and trying new techniques used by their colleagues.

6) Interests Students

For students, using technology in and out of the classroom isn't just fun, it's expected, says Fulton. Flipped learning allows students to review online lessons as much as they need to at home, at their own pace, and engage in more one-on-one time with teachers to ensure they have nailed core concepts before moving on to the next lesson.

Caveat: Students must be prepared for what's involved in a flipped classroom, meaning having the discipline to watch lectures and videos at home. And teachers must establish a system of accountability to make sure that students watch their video lessons outside of class.

7) Flipping Benefits Parents

By reviewing videos, parents get to know what's going on in their children's class. They also don't have to struggle to do homework with their kids, since that type of activity is done in the classroom.

Caveat: Parent must be prepared for the change and be able to support their kids’ technology use at home.

8) It Uses Resources Effectively

Budgets are tight, but having a bring-your-own-device policy and turning to digital content can stretch school resources.

Caveat: Schools must invest in the IT infrastructure to make flipped classrooms possible.

9) Builds 21st-Century Skills

Flipped-classroom instruction embeds concepts such as independent learning, collaboration and critical thinking.

10) Flipped Classrooms Could Be the Future of Education This teaching method is still in its infancy. Whether it takes hold will be up to educators. So will you be flipping your classroom?

EdTech is providing continuous coverage of CoSN 2015, including video interviews and session reviews. Keep up-to-date on all of our coverage by visiting our CoSN 2015 conference page.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Engaging ways to use technology in learning and teaching

How I use technology in my classes from Tiziana Saponaro on Vimeo.

Engaging ways to infuse technology into teaching and learning.

In my classes technology is making a difference, enhancing the way students are collaborating, creating, solving problems and communicating to the world at large. 

My students are involved in rich tasks through the process of inquiry, aided by the power of technology, to venture far beyond what was conceivable even a short time ago. They are creating their own technology solutions for their learning, delving into inquiry, designing, capturing and explaining their own learning using the tools of technology.

They are creating multi-media productions that reveal a great deal of creativity


Thursday, 5 February 2015

50 tips to develop and run online courses, by Andrea Harmon, www. eschoolnews.com

SOURCE: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/02/03/online-course-589/

From getting started to managing the day-to-day business, try these 50 tips for setting up a successful online course for any grade level

online-learning[1]As many K-12 U.S. public schools and districts are struggling to compete with 100 percent online cyber charter schools for essential student funding, many universities are struggling to understand the impact of MOOCs on future enrollment. Both of these scenarios point to the one thing that is abundantly clear, online education is having another growth spurt in the second decade of the 21stcentury and the race to create in-house online content is on.

In-house online content is defined here as online course development created by practicing K-12 educators to avoid having to access sometimes cost-prohibitive, commercially-developed online courses.

However, in addition to the already full plates of educators, in-house online content and course development remains a challenge. With a healthy dose of optimism and motivation to better serve their current, digitally-inclined students’ expectations, along with many excellent, free online tools for online and blended course development, K-16 educators are now able to master the task of online course content for blended learning models and/or 100 percent online course development using the following easily-implemented strategies. While the physical location of the classroom may be left behind, the online classroom adventure has just begun.

 How to get started and personalize interactions

Before the course begins:

1. Make certain you are familiar with all the software and hardware you intend to use in your online content or course

2. Create the projects you expect your students to create to determine the difficulties they may face when trying to execute certain tasks.

3. If not using a school-adopted learning management system or course management system, create a wiki or class webpage complete with areas for faculty contact, sharing news, and resources.

4. Create an FAQ board for questions and answers about the course

In the beginning:

5. When addressing students, learn to use the global command that is common in most LMS to personalize messages by adding a student’s name. For example, create your course welcome by writing, “Welcome to our class together {firstname},“ which then appears as “Welcome to our class together, Joe.”

6. Introduce yourself as the instructor, offering both professional and (some) personal information to personalize your online presence for your students’ future learning experience and request that students do the same. Provide an instructor image and optionally request that students do so as well. This introductory period is also a great time to discuss students’ reasons/purposes for participating in the content or course and what they are hoping to gain from the experience.

7. Offer a detailed syllabus so students have an outlined understanding of the content/course objectives, course expectations, calendar due dates, grade points/percentages for each assignment, office hour information and overall grading system.

8. Foster a community of good digital citizenship with a set of online guidelines, expectations and procedures. For example, with regard to online student discussions, state how many words you expect (e.g. 200-250 words per response), and explain any request to respond to other students’ responses.

9. Arrange for times to meet with students as a group outside of the online environment incorporating hands-on lessons, especially when using unfamiliar technology and with younger age groups. You may also want to meet as a group at the beginning of the class and at the end of the class for more personalization, if possible.

During the course

10. Use case studies, current events, and videos as materials for discussions, in addition to text.

How to be a supportive, responsive instructor

11. When developing student-led discussions, pose open-ended questions, and provide multiple perspectives about topics to promote higher-level responses.

12. Support students with a strong teacher presence and timely feedback during student-led discussions (for example, check in and respond daily for K-6 and at least 2 times per week for grades 6-12). If not able to respond to all individually, stagger responses so that all students receive feedback as often as possible.

13. Provide suggestions and direction for additional resources during online discussion based on students’ responses.

14. Generally, summarize students’ overall responses to the discussion.

15. Keep lesson presentation and due date expectations as consistent as possible.

16. Post standards and lesson objectives at the beginning of each new topic.

17. Distribute online content and course materials in small doses on a predictable basis (according to the syllabus), rather than posting all course material online at once, which may overwhelm students. Provide lessons for the next 1-2 weeks for those students may like to work ahead, without overwhelming those who easily overload from too much information at once.

18. Post information in PDF format, with hyperlinks to additional online resources, websites, and videos.

19. Once content is posted, make it accessible throughout the full lesson/course time frame.

20. Address technology concerns immediately, if students are having trouble accessing class or course materials, and correct the issue.

21. Offer a variety of teaching materials to engage students: Online tutorials, videos, podcasts, written articles/texts, web 2.0 tools, interactive website activities, and games.

Differentiate, collaborate, and communicate

22. Accommodate diverse learning styles by providing a variety of materials, media, and assignments that allow students to construct knowledge through personal choice.

23. Offer an online checklist to help keep students on task and on schedule, but don’t get too carried away with this feature so that each task is dependent upon another, which can easily frustrate students who may like to explore all content course direction before responding.

24. Display all due dates using an interactive, online calendar display option.

25. Create lessons to encourage students’ critical analysis and problem solving skills.

26. Let students adapt projects and problem solutions to include development of project content that is personally relevant and meaningful to them.

27. Allow students to contribute to information resources beyond the classroom whenever possible.

28. Create lessons that encourage collaborative work.

29. Encourage blogging during specific class/course timeframes.

30. Provide experiences for students to collaborate with content experts outside the classroom as well as with one another during projects though Skype or other tools.

31. Typically, allow students freedom to choose whether to work on projects individually or as a group, based on their preference, although at some point during the course it may be advantageous to require students to work together on small group projects to assess teamwork capabilities.

32. When using the small group project strategy, provide groups with a private discussion forum for work on their project, or allow them to choose their own (like Google Docs). If appropriate, provide guidelines for specific roles for each group member, a lowing groups to organize themselves, and promote collaborative learning.

33. Assign more weight to projects as opposed to tests. This will allow you to witness students’ application of key concepts and may help boost their overall grade.

34. Create short (less than 20 questions) online quizzes or surveys for student assessment and evaluation of key concepts.

35. Use a variety of quiz question formats (true false, multiple choice, open-ended, etc).

36. If an emergency arises and your student notifies you promptly, be flexible with assignment due dates.

37. Share interesting content-related news articles with your students as you discover them, to keep a cutting-edge slant.

38. Provide rapid and positive responses to student questions and requests for help through personal email and post for all students if helpful to all.

End courses on the right note

39. Showcase a variety of students’ strengths by providing students’ with various assessment strategies to highlight and communicate what they have learned.

40. Allow students to choose their own medium to express their ideas about the topic.

41. Grade and give feedback promptly on all assignments.

42. Hold online office hours at cirtical times during the students’ assessment period, more often for younger students, or anytime a student needs specific help.

43. For each student, display individual grades so the students know their grade in the class at all times, and can keep track of the grades themselves.

44. Make students responsible for their own grades. For example, announce that by a certain time all assignments have been graded and that, if they have submitted an assignment, they should be able to see the grade and that they are responsible for reporting if they have questions about their grade or do not see it posted.

45. Provide 1-2 extra credit projects that are available throughout the enrollment of the class.

46. Use web 2.0 tools such as Glogster [2] and VoiceThread [3] for asychrnous online presentations (formative assessment).

47. Use online classroom tools such as Blackboard Collaborate or Google for synchronous online presentations (summative assessment).

48. Prepare to use a variety of technology but also be prepared to do some tech support and to contact the IT help desk when needed.

At the conclusion of the course:

49. Provide a formative and summative evaluation of the online course content and/or course for feedback from students.

50. Revise online course content and or course delivery based on student feedback.

At first glance, these 50 development strategies for creating in-house courses may seem overwhelming to you as an educator. However, as you begin to explore developing, collecting, and assembling an abundance of online lesson activities for your students you will soon discover that you have developed an entire online course along with the tools and knowledge of how to run it successfully.

AcknowledgementsDr. Harmer would like to acknowledge her ITC 435 and ITC 520 classes at Kutztown University [4] for their excellent contributions to this discussion.

Dr. Andrea Harmer is chair of the Instructional Technology & Library Science Department at Kutztown University and part-time director of educational outreach and web-based education in Materials Science & Engineering department and the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at Lehigh University.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Does Research Support Letting Students Use Cell Phones for Learning?



Teens today.

Always on their phones. Lightening fast thumbs sharing content on Snapchat, Vine, Instagram, Twitter and more. While teens, teachers, and parents are familiar with cell phone's use as a social tool, more and more are discovering they are a great learning resource as well. There's even evidence and research to prove it.  

This is useful for the texting teen trying to convince school staff or a parent that they really do use their devices for learning. It is also useful for innovative educators who are trying to convince administration and explain to parents why they want to empower students by letting them use the devices they own and love.

Here's the research supporting student's use of mobile devices for learning.

Transform education, engage students, and improve outcomes with mobile devices

A majority of secondary students and administrators believe having access to a mobile device is an essential component of learning at school. This paper considers ways in which mobile devices improve learning. It focuses on the ability of mobile devices to provide content and facilitate information access wherever a student is located. It also shows how use of mobile devices can sustain high levels of student engagement and peer collaboration. 
Source: Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings. See: Mobile Learning: Transforming Education, Engaging Students, and Improving Outcomes.

Despite their disruptive track record, mobile devices have potential for learning

This report uses a cross-section of research, policy, and industry experts to show how mobile technologies can be used for learning. It shows how mobile devices can help promote the knowledge, skills, and perspectives children will need for success.The report highlights five opportunities to seize mobile learning's unique attributes to improve education:
1. Encourage "anywhere, anytime" learning
2. Reach underserved children
3. Improve 21st-century social interactions
4. Fit with learning environments
5. Enable a personalized learning experience
Source: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center. See: Pockets of potential--using mobile technologies to promote children's learning.

Middle school students using smart phones are more interested in STEM

More than one third of middle school students in this study reported using mobile phones for homework. Those who do are more likely to express an interest in science, tech, engineering, and math subjects. They also say smart phones help them learn those subjects better.  
Source: The Journal. See: Middle School Students Using Smart Phones, More Interested in STEM.

Texting teens write better on exams

A comprehensive comparison of exam papers was conducted by Cambridge Assessment, the Department of Cambridge University. It found that despite the fear that texting may have hindered teen's ability to write, "The quality of many features of writing by school leavers has improved." The two year study found that teenagers are using more complex sentence structures, a wider vocabulary and a more accurate use of capital letters, spelling and punctuation skills than in the past.
Source: Times. See: Texting teenagers are proving "more literate than ever before.

Texting teens do better on writing assignments

A study from California State University researchers has found that texting can improve teens' writing in informal essays and many other writing assignments.
Source:U.S. News. See: Could texting be good for students?

Cell phones support research-based teaching and learning strategies

An entire chapter of "Teaching Generation Text" called "Supporting Research-Based Instructional Strategies Using Cell Phones" is devoted to sharing how cell phones can support the research-based teaching and learning strategies featured in the book Classroom Instruction That Works, by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock. The chapter provides lesson plans as examples of how to put this in practice. Readers learn how to use cell phones to poll students, create phone casts, use Avatars for oral presentations, encourage note taking, summarizing, brainstorming, goal setting, and more. The chapter also addresses how the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) are met through the use of cell phones.
Source: Jossey-Bass. See: Teaching generation text: Using cell phones to enhance learning.

Teachers realize positive use of cellphones in the classroom

Researchers George Engle, a High School teacher in West Nyack, NY, and Tim Green, professor of educational technology at California State University at Fullerton say when students used cell phones in class there was an increase in class participation and in the quality of assessments. Students were also better able to prove their understanding and learned to reflect on their work.
Source: Educational Research Newsletters + Webinars. See: Teachers report on experience using cell phones in math class.

Cell phone video streaming helps increase early childhood literacy

This study demonstrated the value of using cell phones to introduce educational content to preschool children. Parents reported an increase in their children's knowledge of the alphabet, and in their own initiation of literacy-related activities with their children.  
Source: WestEd See: Evaluation of the PBS Ready To Learn Cell Phone Study: Learning Letters with Elmo.

Anxieties adults have about teens and tech create a wall

In her book (available online for free) danah boyd (she spells it lowercase) explains that the anxieties adults have about teens using social media and mobile devices are destructive to adult-youth relationships. She looks at how youth in generations past had an abundance of opportunities to be on their own without being under the watchful eye of adults. Today's overscheduled youth are using social media and their mobile devices to engage with their peers the same way their parents did with their secret clubs or games played on the street. The book encourages adults to embrace the always connected world of youth while also working on creating a network of trusted network young people can turn to for advice.
Source: Yale University Press. See: It's complicated: The social lives of networked teens.

Conclusion

There will always be naysayers who want to push back against the idea of students bringing their devices to class, but the research is clear. When we don't allow students to tap into the power of their tiny machines with huge information access, we do them a disservice, and hobble their future opportunities. What kids learn is important; allowing kids to choose how they learn can open doors as well.


SOURCE: http://www.answers.com/