California Educator

March 2013

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BY TERRY NG Which ne smartpho is right for you? Choosing which smartphone to buy can seem daunting. With the multitude of devices on the market, each with a different set of features operating on a different platform, choosing one without knowing what you need can be a recipe for unhappiness. To help you in this crazy world of smartphones, here's a quick guide to help you choose your next phone. Reuben Hoffman teaches global stratification with a cell phone. San Juan Teachers Association member. "If the students are using the phones to do something that is not relevant to them or using their phones to complete tasks that are just as efficient on paper or by other means, their engagement will not automatically go up." Naditz especially likes Socrative, an online application that allows students to take a traditional quiz on their phones or answer an "exit question" before leaving the class so she can view their responses to see what they don't understand. Socrative also allows students to team up for games. The teacher site is, and on their mobile devices, students navigate to and enter their teacher's "room number" to access activities. (Teachers create the room number when they set up the accounts.) Naditz has been exploring the use of the SlideKlowd app, which allows students to follow a teacher's PowerPoint presentations on their phones in real time. "No more straining to see the front board," she says. The program currently requires a demo license and is not yet available for purchase. "I'm always looking for ways to ensure that my instruction provides students with a variety of opportunities to engage with the content, practice with immediate feedback and have access to tools they need in order to be successful. Mobile devices were a logical next step in making this a reality for my students." Even 'dumb phones' enhance learning Younger students may have cellphones, but they are not likely to be smartphones with Internet access. But Daniel Moon, a sixth-grade teacher at Lake Forest Elementary School, says students can benefit from these cellphones in his class. During math, students use calculator functions in phones. Students text questions to Google SMS (466453) and answers are texted back instantly to them. 26 California Educator March 2013 iOS (iPhone) iOS is the operating system that powers the popular iPhone. Although not very customizable, it's intuitive and easy to use. iOS's strong point is its large apps selection: Over 775,000 apps are available, ranging from favorite games to mathematics apps that help kids learn algebra. In Apple's own words, if you need it, "There's an app for that." Best iOS phone: There's only one. iPhone 5. Android If you're a heavy Google Gmail or Google Maps user, then the Android phone will make you happy because Android OS is designed to work with all Google's services. The app ecosystem is second only to iOS, and most key apps are available for both systems. Android's strong point is that it's built for customization. If you love to tinker, Android's home screens can be modified to your exact liking with different dynamic widgets and icons. With great customization, however, comes a slightly steeper learning curve. Best Android phones: Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, HTC Droid DNA, LG Nexus 4 Windows Phone Windows Phone was designed to work with Microsoft's ecosystem. If you have deep ties with Xbox, Office, Bing and Microsoft's cloud services, then this may be for you. Instead of using icons and widgets like iOS or Android, Windows Phone uses square "Live Tiles" to display apps and other information. Its fresh interface is appealing, but power users may not find it very flexible. App selection is the smallest of the three operating systems, but key apps such as Facebook and Twitter are still represented. Best Windows phones: Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8X "Students were surprised they could get information on their phones even if it wasn't a smartphone," says the Saddleback Valley Educators Association president. "And they were surprised at the quick response time and accuracy of the results." Moon began incorporating cellphones into lessons five years ago. To avoid cheating, students put their phones face down, in plain sight, during a quiz. "Cellphones are powerful tools that can enhance instruction and motivate kids when used thoughtfully by teachers," says Moon. "I encourage others to give them a try."

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