Game of Phones Part 1

I’ve never actually watched the shows or read the books. This joke isn’t funny, is it?

Technology is changing our world at a rapid rate. For a little while, a lot of schools took a zero tolerance approach to technology. This was fine in the days of flip phones when the only internet around was dial-up (sidebar: you know how I feel about flip-phones).

However, the usage and abilities of phones have changed dramatically in the past 10, even 5 years. Schools are coming to an understanding that proper use of technology has to a part of the curriculum, whether it’s on a phone, tablet or even computer. Teachers, both classroom teachers and substitute teachers, need to have their own personal approach to phones in the classroom, and make sure students are aware of and respect their technology rules.

(This week I will touch on my approaches to phones and technology in the classroom as the regular classroom teacher. Next week, I will talk about my approach to phones and tech in the classroom as a substitute teacher.)

As the regular classroom teacher, I think technology is great! It opens up a world of information to us. There is nothing wrong with that. In my classroom, I will:

  • model appropriate usage of a phone by how I use mine during class time (aka, no texting, phone calls, or social media until break time),
  • demand the respect of directing a lesson or having a dialogue and have the students look at me and not their screens,
  • foster a trust with students that they will not be using their phones to play games or text others during their work time (and make sure they are very clear on the consequences if they break this trust),
  • allow students to listen to music (as long as they ask, as long as it’s using a music app and not searching a new song on YouTube every 3 minutes, as long as they have headphones, as long as I can’t hear the music, as long as long as long…),
  • teach students how to use their phones/tablets as research tools (downloading a search engine app like Google, identifying which search results are paid ads and which are legitimate results),
  • demonstrate the difference between phones/tablets and computers (yes, there are differences and no, you shouldn’t be writing a 1000 word essay on your phone) and give students the opportunity to practice the different usages of each,
  • develop lessons and activities that mimic how and when we use tech in the real world for students to hone their skills (aka, don’t check a text during an interview and seemingly obvious things like that),
  • always insist that Wikipedia is a garbage source, but the stuff listed under References, Further Reading, and External Links are great places find reputable information,
  • become irate when parents text their kids in class (parents, know that I would give you a detention in a heartbeat if I could).

And when students start sassing me about how school and learning things is pointless because they can just look everything up on their phone, then I will tell them that we as a society are “wildly inaccurate about how much [we] know and how dependent [we] are on the Internet.” And then I’ll tell them to read a book and regale them with tales of how I graduated high school, university, and teachers’ college all with many books and very limited access to the Internet.

10 thoughts on “Game of Phones Part 1

      1. Speaking of that, I actually wanted to share with you another blog that I created. I designed a personal curriculum (similar to a classroom one) for myself this year. It incorporates monthly “lesson plans” for personal growth and improvement. Check it out if it interests you! 🙂 (I would message you personally on here but I don’t know how hahah) God bless!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is such a cool idea (way more manageable than the resolutions we’ve probably all given up by now). Two years ago, I was just starting a year of not buying any new clothes whatsoever (, if you want to stumble through my archives hahaha). These ideas seem so simple, but they have such a big impact on how we live our lives and see the world around us.
        And don’t worry; if you had sent me an personal message, I probably would have never found it!


      3. I completely agree with you! It’s so crazy to see how simple ideas could impact our lives so greatly. It’s funny because I actually already looked over your blog yesterday! I think it’s fantastic that you were able to find a creative outlet and a place document your personal experience. I’m glad that there are like-minded people like you that I can stumble upon online, it’s so refreshing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great info. My mother and I both substitute teach. She recently told me how she suspected a student of taking pictures of her on one of the school’s tablets. When her got locked out because he didn’t know the password and she had to reopen it, she took a quick look into the photo gallery and sure enough he had taken a few snaps of her. She reported him and I think he was dealt some discipline. It is quite scary not knowing where your likeness could be in this day and age of instant photographing at every turn. Again, great article and I will pass your blog and specifically this article as well. *high-five*

    Liked by 1 person

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