Messages Still Going To Old Phone After New Iphone Purchase How You Can Use Your Cell Phone to Get Better Grades

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How You Can Use Your Cell Phone to Get Better Grades

It was 1999 and I had just been hired as a high school biology teacher. As a reward for being hired, I bought myself a present, my first cell phone. I was excited because this would allow me to communicate with my friends and family from almost anywhere. I justified the purchase to myself, since my classroom didn’t have a phone in it, and the pay raise would allow me to pick up a few more monthly expenses. Last year my nephew got his first phone. He was 8 years old and it was his reward for being promoted from third grade to fourth grade. Things have definitely changed in the last 12 years.

In 2010 the Pew Research Center reported that 75% of 12-17 year olds own a cell phone. This number has increased from 45% in 2004 and is likely more than three-quarters of all students today. It won’t be long until every high school student in America brings their phone to school. Of course, with so many students having access to cell phones, it makes sense that cell phones could be used to help students get better grades in school.

When students enter my classroom, they can look for notices on the whiteboard. They can view their upcoming homework in addition to the dates of any upcoming tests or projects. As part of my daily classroom routine, I pay attention to these assignments at the beginning of class and remind my students to write their homework in a planner or notebook.

Every day I have my students write their assignments. I walk around the classroom and ask the students to show me that it is written. A common problem is that many students often forget or lose where they wrote their homework by that evening. Sometimes poor organizational skills cause students to not place their assignments. For other students, they have a separate notebook for each class and write their homework in multiple places.

A simple solution to this dilemma is to have students write their daily assignments on their phones. For a high school student, a phone is an essential device that goes with them almost everywhere. While a student may leave a textbook or spiral notebook in a classroom and forget about it, chances are they won’t leave their phone.

Besides a student always having their phone with them, they use it constantly. The Pew Research Center found through their study that texting is the primary method of cell phone communication among teenagers. 88% of teenage cell phone users text as a form of communication and 54% text every day. The typical high school sender (ages 14-17) typically sends and receives 60 text messages per day.

The technology is available now for students to use a standard notepad feature on their phone and write on an ever-building list of what their nightly homework is for each class. If their phone has a calendar option, upcoming tests and projects can be printed as well. With most phone calendars there is an option to set reminders for upcoming events. This is so powerful for a student to receive a reminder at 6:30pm as a signal that they should study for tomorrow’s math test.

If the student owns a smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, or Palm), then the sky is the limit as to how their phone can help them keep track of all their assignments. While the specific apps available are unique to each phone, they all have a To-Do List app that’s either free or very free. Awesome Note, Cozi, Evernote and Lister have all received positive reviews. The key is to find what’s available for your phone that works well for you. Every day I write my “To Do List” with Lister on my Blackberry and categorize my entries as short term, this week or priority. Then throughout the day I refer to my list every time I use my phone to call, text, email, or even check Facebook. It keeps me focused and I add to the list or check off items as needed.

If you have an iPhone, I definitely recommend checking out the app called myHomework. It allows you to schedule your class, enter homework and assignments, view upcoming assignments in the calendar function, and even display reminders when you open your phone. With new apps constantly being developed, it’s only a matter of time before there are more apps that specialize in organizing homework for all phones.

As we move into the 21st century, it is important that we take advantage of the technology available to raise student achievement. Just as computers in school have evolved from a novelty to a necessity, cell phones are proving that they can have a positive impact on student achievement. I encourage you (or your student for any parents reading this article) to educate the teachers at your school about why using a cell phone to keep track of assignments is better than the old fashioned way of writing them on a notebook. Before long I suspect that bringing your phone to school will be as accepted as bringing a pencil.

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