October 15, 2010
With the election weeks away, Fremd High School teacher Jason Spoor asked students in his government class, some of them first-time voters, to research local candidates vying for office.
They would have 15 minutes and one learning tool: their cellphone.
“If you are driving down the street and headed to vote, you don’t have a computer at the touch of a hand. You have a cellphone,” Spoor told his students last week.
The lesson would have been impossible in the past. But with cellphones tucked in the book bags and pockets of three-fourths of today’s teens, many high schools are ceding defeat in the battle to keep handheld technology out of class and instead are inviting students to use their phones for learning.
Under a teacher’s guidance, students might record themselves speaking a foreign language, text an answer to an online quiz or send themselves a homework reminder.
“It’s one of those things — if you can’t beat them, join them,” said Jill Bullo, principal of Wheaton North High School, which plans to review its policy this year.
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