Cell Phones: 21st Century Learning Tools

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The following is a review of an article titled, “Cell phones: 21st Century Learning Tools?” by Johanna Sorrentino. This article was found at www.education.com and is one of many on the topic of 21st Century Leaning. In this article, Sorrentino asks, “Is it possible to think that there could be, in between the deafening ring tones and the obsessive text messaging, some redeeming educational qualities to these devices?” This question, which is posed in the opening paragraph, quickly draws me into the remainder of the article as I struggle with the daily excessive cell phone usage of my three sons. As a parent, I have found that the positives of my children having their own cell phones outweigh the negatives. However, since deciding to become an educator I have become more cognizant of the fact that the cell phone can be a real nuisance when it comes to our children’s educational success. Sorrentino found one teacher (and author), Liz Kolb, who believes the answer to be yes. At first, Kolb was like most educators and believed cell phones added no value to the educational process. When she looked for information on incorporating cell phones with education, she came up empty. Kolb took it upon herself to explore ways cell phones could enhance the learning experience of today’s students. While Kolb still believes cell phones should not be used inside the classroom, she has found a number of ways for students, educators and parents to embrace cell phones outside of class. Kolb states that, “when student’s can connect their own culture with what’s happening in school their education becomes immediately more meaningful to them.” That simple statement by Kolb may be one of the most important pieces of advice any new educator can take with them as they begin a career in teaching. As a coach, I have always tried to find ways to connect with my young players in order to make them listen attentively to what I am trying to teach them. Using their favorite team or...
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