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Jamie Mitchell
Ten years ago I realized I did not enjoy confiscating student devices...a thread.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
I was newish to teaching and new to the high school. I was told by other teachers that if devices were out I was expected to confiscate and bring them down to the office. Not knowing any better and wanting to fit in, I followed this advice.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
Every day I was carrying multiple devices down to the main office. Students who had their phones brought down a certain number of times had them kept in the main office until a parent could arrive to claim the phone. Days might go by. And yet, cell phone use didn't decrease.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
I was also realizing I didn't enjoy confiscating students personal property everyday.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
So...the next year I decided to try something. I flipped the script. I told my classes I wouldn't take their phones as longs as the device was kept on top of the desk. No more texting in their lap or hiding what apps/games they were using.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
Things got better. Did students still text? Absolutely. Did they play games? Sometimes. But I was able to talk with them openly and as a class about what they were doing. "Do you think this is the right time to text your friend?" "What game is that? What math is going on in it?"
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
I liked this, because I was able to leverage these moments into conversations about individual learning skills, like self-regulation. And at the same time, I started to notice that sometimes their "off task" device use was really on task.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
"You mentioned the Richter scale, so I wanted to google what the largest earthquake ever was" "I'm putting a reminder into my phone about the assignment" "I'm asking my mom if she remembers the quadratic formula"
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
And I RELAXED! "Yes, you can use your cell phone as a calculator. Maybe text dad and ask if he can buy you a scientific calculator later tonight?" "Take pictures of the questions that stump you when you are doing homework, then email me"
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
Students have more computing power in their pocket then I ever had in school. And they are EXPERTS at using those devices...so I made use of that. "Add your questions to the google doc I just shared, anyone can answer these questions. Yes you can do this on your phone."
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
"Use your fav graphing calculator app to see what's happening here." "Homework: take a video of a mathematical relationship" "This app lets you edit video on your phone. Let's use it to create a presentation about what you've just learned. No test this unit if you do this."
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
I could do WAY more with my classes. No need for a computer lab when students were bringing their own devices. I leveraged collaboration when students didn't have a device. Good bye unit tests, hello projects that allowed students to show their understanding in different ways.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
My expectation for students to use devices in productive and interesting ways radically decreased how often they were off task and zoned out. Cell phones were not something to hide and sneak into class anymore.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
And when I needed the attention of everyone? "Please turn your phones screen side down and close your laptops" That's the extent of my classroom device management. Students are so busy in class anyway, they don't often have time to get distracted.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
So no, their won't be a ban on cell phones in my classroom. If their was I'd be losing too much. Too much conversation and community building. Too many interesting opportunities for students to expand their learning. Too many chances to talk about individual learning skills.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
I think this stance falls in line with my own education philosophy. I'm not the controller of knowledge, doling it out when I see fit. I am a facilitator of learning, a mentor to young adults and a partner in their in their individual education needs.
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
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MrsLyonsLibrary Mar 12
Replying to @realJ_Mitchell
Love the “take pictures and email me” idea!
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Jamie Mitchell Mar 12
Replying to @mrslyonslibrary
Much easier than going back and forth trying to pull out their own thinking. Plus I’d ask to see the work they tried on their own first.
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Franco Farinaccio Mar 12
How about all the evidence that suggests student performance is worse because of cell phones in the room. Also, like it or not education is political, and parents don't want them in the room so they won't be in the room.
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