Technology in Students' Pockets

Not long ago I had a dialog with my Sister-in-Law regarding cellphone use in the classroom. She could not believe I was discussing the possiblility of students actually bringing the devices into the classroom. I tried to explain to her that just about every cell phone now is essentially a mini-computer. I gave up the dialog and decided to blog about it here. I will make sure she gets the link to this post. She must have missed her calling because the last thing she stated was "not every kid has a BlackBerry." I often hear the 'not every kid' line used by teachers who are reluctant to integrate technology in the classroom. This irritates me but that is the subject for another blog post. Think back to the last three months or so. How many phones were introduced to the marketplace that was not a smartphone of some kind or at least had a keyboard and applications? I can't think of any. T-Mobile already sells a BlackBerry Curve for it's prepaid market. 

Earlier I posted about a device Research in Motion will soon sell that will allow PowerPoints on BlackBerries to be shown on projectors via Bluetooth. The BlackBerry Presenter sells for $199 which puts it out of reach of most students. However, there is a new application which allows presentations to be controlled from an iPhone, iPod Touch, Android device, or the web. MightyMeeting allows presentations to shown from the cloud via a 3G or WiFi connection. The video below shows how this application works. Another thing MightyMeeting can do is store various documents in the cloud which could help students with storage problems such as not being allowed to bring flash drives for fear of viruses or not enough network storage. Accounts are free along with the app which can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or Android app stores. I tried this app out with my wife's iPod Touch and it works great.

 Here is more proof legitimate cellphones are coming to the classroom quickly. Instead of bringing flashdrives with the potential of viruses to show presentations, students can start using their phones. What about those students who don't have a smart phone? Most phones sold in the last few years can usually do at least three things: talk, text, and take pictures. Some can even do crude videos. Students can use photosharing sites like flickr and Photobucket to upload photos from their phones. YouTube even allows video submission by e-mail. These sites give you e-mail addresses and other methods to send photos straight from your phone to the site. The sites can also connect to a blog and allows you to send photos directly to the blog. Internet hosted blogsites such as Blogger and microblogs like Twitter now have ways to use a phone to post content directly from a phone. Don't forget using cellphones as classroom response systems using webapps such as Poll Everywhere or TextTheMob. Even classroom response system companies are working on iPhone apps. 

I have probably just scratched the surface with what cellphones will be able to do now and can only imagine what they will be able to do in the near future. What do you think? Take the Poll Everywhere poll.