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February 2011 | Volume 68 | Number 5
Teachers are finding creative ways to turn the basic cell phone from a digital distraction into a versatile learning tool.
When 7th grader Sarah walked into her history classroom a few minutes before class began, she immediately took out her cell phone and began text messaging. She wasn't texting her friends, though. Instead, she was participating in the class brainstorming poll that her teacher had projected on the whiteboard. The teacher was using Poll Everywhere (http://polleverywhere.com) to ask students to give their opinion about the most important cause of the U.S. Civil War (slavery, states' rights vs. federal rights, the election of Lincoln, social issues, or financial issues). Sarah sent in her response, and then watched the percentages in the bar graph on the whiteboard change as more students texted in their votes.
When class began, Sarah's teacher asked the students to send another text message, this time explaining their reason for the selection they made. Sarah sent her answer, but as she watched other students' responses pop up on the whiteboard, she began to think about other viewpoints. Because the answers were anonymous, students felt comfortable giving their honest opinions.
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Copyright © 2011 by ASCD
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