Until the computer in my classroom was hooked up to the Internet last week thanks to RSCON4, I resorted to desperate measures. The beginning of the year is the time when I must introduce the new students (and remind the older ones) what we do on the computer, how and why we do it. It is the time for building habits for the rest of the school year.
* I sent my high-school students, one by one with an adult escort (not a teacher) to the library.
* I sent them in pairs to the library, having one explain to the other.
* I sent them in pairs to the TEACHER’S ROOM on Fridays (school library is closed) with a note from me.
* I had them pull out their cell phones.
Note: I only have one student who doesn’t have a Smart Phone (I DO have some students who don’t have a computer, only a realy big Smart Phone!).
Some students were pleased that I could explain things to them myself and the Quizlet new flashcard feature caused quite a stir at first.
Others were surprisingly reluctant to use their cell phones. Mind you, these are kids whom I describe as having their cell phones hooked up directly to their blood streams!
At first I thought it was possesiveness. However, at no point did I make any attempt to actually TOUCH their phones, I would just explain and they would touch the screen and hold the phone.
So then I asked about the cost. Perhaps they were concerned about the price of surfing on a cell phone? But that wasn’t it either. All of them have unlimited surfing plans.
A few said that I’m wasting their battery. I pointed out that my new classroom is full of electrical outlets. That was helpful to those who remember to bring their chargers to school (actually many kids do!).
The others finally clarified their problem. Their cell phones were for them to be on Facebook and Instragram and WhatsApp. What right do I have to ask them to use it for helping them with their schoolwork?!!
I didn’t argue with anyone about it. I left it as an option. Now we have a computer in class. Those who are comfortable with checking their homework assignments and talking to me about them while looking at the app may do so. Others can wait their turn on the computer.
Still, I WAS surprised.