California Educator

March 2013

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Page 22 of 47

Learning? There's an app for that! BY SHERRY POSNICK-GOODWIN PHOTOS BY SCOTT BUSCHMAN Students in this classroom don't have to keep their cellphones hidden inside a backpack. They are used for research, as calculators and flash cards, and even for test-taking. "T he use of smartphones is not going away, so teachers need to embrace it," asserts Suzanne Scotten, a middle school teacher at E.V. Cain STEM Charter Middle School in Auburn. "What's the point of banning them? We should use them to serve our teaching purposes. It's made my job easier, because I'm not fighting it all the time." Students were stunned when first told to take out their phones to use the educational apps or online tools, says Scotten, Auburn Union Teachers Association (AUTA.) "When we explained the reasons and rules, we earned their respect for acknowledging their medium and allowing them to use phones responsibly. It's satisfying to see kids reading or studying on their phones. Schools don't have funds for unlimited technology, so why not use what students already have?" Twenty-three percent of students ages 12-17 in the U.S. have a smartphone, according to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. While 54 percent have a regular cellphone, another 23 percent don't own a phone. Educators encourage students to share phones in class — or use other available technology such as tablets or computers. March 2013 23

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