In working with my students I have seen them use their cell phones for research, social networking, and academic support. It is clear from the Speak Up Report "Learning in the 21st Century Mobile Devices + Social Media = Personalized Learning" that we are headed to classrooms with mobile devices and we need to, as educators, learn how to use these devices to educate. Students have these amazing tools at their disposal, parents want their students to learn about how to use the devices, and teachers need to learn how to implement them in a classroom. In my own teaching, I know I have to start developing methods and strategies to take advantage of the learning opportunities that mobile devices offer such as research, classroom forums, and anything else that the students and I come up with.
In my investigation of the Speak Up student panel video regarding technology in the classroom, I felt that the first student that spoke had a relevant point about it being necessary to find ways of allowing students to direct themselves in their own learning. Students need to be engaged and motivated to investigate information for themselves. I was thinking about my own students and how many of them are happy using their cell phones in class as tools of learning. But at the same time, during this minor flashback, I remembered how students can also be extremely distracted from what is happening in the classroom. The second student that spoke up surprised me when she pointed out that this can be the downfall to students having mobile access in a classroom and she thought that students should not have mobile access but instead computers for research. At this point my co-teacher and I have agreed that we are not allowing cell phones but are going to strive to find ways for them to use cell phones in a productive way. We don't want to limit student access to information but will set aside tasks for them to use their phones productively.
The Youth Teach 2 Learn program is fantastic! It is clear that these students have the capacity to teach other students and inspire them to become more engaged in various content areas. In order to start such a program at our school site, it will be important to find a group of educators who are wanting and willing to take on this program, to find ways of communicating with students, and want to try new things. In working with administration, it would be necessary to find ways of this being a learning experience for the students involved. The empowerment of these youth is essential in the learning of the school as a whole.