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Cellphones in the Classroom

Viewed 10935 times 2018-5-28 20:41 |System category:News

The biggest controversy today in education is regarding kids bringing cellphones to school. One school in eastern China, takes the phones from the kids and destroys the phones. Another spends a few hours before school begins, frisking students and searching for weapons or cellphones.

With President Xi's call for innovation and technology to expand in China, education is a place where both can be very useful. Just in the school that I teach several classes a week, we have followed technological trends in upgrading our presentation multi-media from the old overhead projectors to 10,000 RMB interactive boards that contain computers with massive touchscreens. We no longer even need chalk for the chalkboards. With a few swipes, we have a ready-made board that we can not only use, but, we can save whatever we write on it to be used at a later date. The best use of this that I've found is, reviewing for exams with saved displays from previous classes.

As noble (or ridiculous) as it sounds to be gathering cellphones and smashing them with hammers, innovative educators are now using cellphones to teach far more effectively and successfully than they have in the past.

I recently read that 40% of high school teachers use an online platform called Quizlet to present their lessons. Not only can they present their lessons, but, through a cellphone APP, the students can later access the lesson and engage in learning in a variety of ways. The primary feature is an excellent flashcard program that actually reads English and Chinese aloud. It has various functions in the platform to engage the students in group activities, effective game-learning, testing and solo-game learning.

Quizlet is not the only platform that is used in the West for delivering lessons and empowering the learning process for teachers and their students. There are other similar platforms as well. 

Right now, education in China seems to be at a crossroads of utilizing readily available (and free) technology or rejecting it and continuing in the same vein that it has for perhaps more than 50 years. With the outdated mindset of battling technology, failure and frustration for students, teachers and educators will come.

The old proverb says, "People perish for lack of knowledge." There is no greater evidence of this than in primary and secondary education. The hostility against technology (cellphones) comes due to the lack of knowledge of knowing how to use it in advancing education to higher level than it has ever been in the past.

The wise thing is to 'use the technology' and stop fighting it. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


Recent comments

  • Why English Is So Hard 2019-7-15 22:39

    Yes, the serious exam system has made Chinese education go in a strange way which has wasted too much for the nation!  Our physical education program should make ordinary kids become healthier and stronger rather than prepare thousands of athletes for few champion gold medals! All subjects ought to train children to do independent thinking with their own head instead of repeating others' sayings without one-word-changing!
    (A long time ago, I posted one blog (or thread)titled ‘We should learn English as kids’ .)

  • Why Foreigners Can't Teach Gaokao English 2019-7-14 23:25

    "The school I work at tells me to concentrate on pronunciation and oral speaking skills only, the students will get grammar lessons from their respective State schools.  What's the use of proper pronunciation if they can't construct a correct sentence?"

    This, right here, is the reason I gave up after 11 years. I could not justify punishing myself and pulling out my own hair any longer. I was tired of hearing the excuse, "This is China. We do things differently, here". Just play games, sing songs, and get them to talk (in a university environment). Foreign teachers are a laughingstock, in China. Everyone knows they are only there to put a white face on the school, and to justify charging exorbitant fees to the parents. Those who WANT to learn, will. The majority however, are only there because they HAVE to be there. If they don't pass, they don't get their Bachelor's Degree. That's the only reason they are in that classroom. Yes, this sounds like a negative post ... but it's the TRUTH.

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