March 6-12 is Teen Tech Week. Chances are pretty good that your teen students — individually and collectively — have amassed more tech savvy than most adults, no matter how hard adults try to keep up with it all. Today’s teens can probably barely fathom their teachers’ and parents’ primitive note-passing rituals, but they usually helped everyone achieve their less than scholarly goals.
As an educator, you probably frequently note a more technologically advanced version of the classic furtive note-passing via human assembly line with teens using their smartphone in class. Of course, you have to find a way to address the issue, but first, you need to hear your students’ excuses. Those excuses are usually as creative as they are steeped in digital prowess, but with the right twist, you can help teens make some of those excuses true. We’ve chosen six of our favorite excuses. With some understanding and creativity, you can help students turn these excuses into solid reasons to use their smartphones in class.
1. Taking Notes
Well, it’s hard to argue with a student diligently taking notes to remember the critical points of your lecture. One way you can help your students legitimize this claim is to ask them to share their notes with you via email at the end of class.
2. Looking Up a Reference
Students solidifying their understanding of your lecture is another perfectly sound reason to use a mobile phone in class. Ask your students to share a list of their favorite resources with you and the class.
3. Sending Notes to an Absent Student
Perhaps the students made arrangements prior to class, and the excuse is true. This excuse is easy enough to ferret out the truth if another student is absent. Just ask your students to clear their earnest endeavors with you in advance, and you will happily facilitate their laudable goals.
4. Responding to a Message from Parents
This one probably automatically sets off some alarms since you know most parents understand your policies on mobile phone usage in your classroom. In urgent situations, such communications make sense, so wait to find out more information before penalizing the student.
5. Starting an Essay or Short Story Inspired By Your Lesson
Perhaps you are giving a lesson on the works of Shakespeare or theater, in general. Your more creative students might feel inspired to start their own masterpiece. It is worth exploring to find out more about your student’s creative aspirations and how you can encourage them.
6. Exploring Images That Represent Your Lessons
Perhaps you are discussing jellyfish or squids in your science class, and your student wants to see a visual representation of these creatures. Ask student to compile their favorite images to share a presentation with their classmates.
Smartphones and tablets are a fact of life for modern educators, so why not make the most of all the opportunities they provide for your students and as way to enrich class for everyone?