This not a post on how to handle a mobile phone. I bet our students know quite a lot more about that than we do. I want to focus here on the use of mobile phones in the classroom. Those shiny and bleeping devices that have taken control of students’ minds and attention are here to stay, and we have tried all the tricks in the book to stop them from completely taking over.
Unfortunately for us teachers, they offer a far more appealing reality than schools and lessons do, even if we consider it fake. The truth is that we have lost the war even before we started the first battle. But there is always a way around it, education is the key and etiquette the solution.
I have not invented anything new, it was this article on Educational Technology and Mobile Learning that made me change my mind about mobile phones at school and this poster showing the basic rules of mobile phone etiquette. I think it is a good idea to work with students on this matter and teach them the importance of social rules when using their phones, both to avoid disruption during the lessons and to enjoy of a healthier social life.
Obviously, it will take an awful lot of time to sink in. Meanwhile we can try the hard way. At one of our department meeting, some of my colleagues proposed a way to punishing students whose phones go off: make them recite a long poem, sing the mos bizarre song or conjugate all English irregular verbs in fornt of the class. I bet you will not hear a bleep ever again.
About social networking and whatsupping, we are still thinking of ideas. If anybody knows of any good one, post it. I know a bunch of people who would be really grateful.