By Shaaban Fundi,
I was in a meeting yesterday and what came up in the agenda? Cell phone use in the classrooms. I was like, are these people out of their minds or what? I have heard a lot of ideas tossed up in these meetings before but none had made my mind to start racing and thinking like this one. The potential benefits are vast and the cost of implementation would be very low. After a careful analysis of the pros and cons of having cell phone as technology support for the best practice delivery of instruction, I came to the conclusion that it might as well be a very good idea indeed.
Have you thought about what a cell phone (smart phones) can do these days? My goodness!! Other than the obvious uses of cell phones like communication during emergency situation, cell phones are more like computers, you can search the World Wide Web to complement course instruction, you can use them for gizmos, tests, instructional videos, quizzes, polling purposes and the potential usage are limitless.
In addition, cell phones are much cheaper comparing to computers—for countries like Tanzania this would be very cost effective. It could potentially be a game changer in terms of technology catch up for Tanzania. It could eliminate the need to go through the computer age to catch up with other nations. Instead of buying computers for each school, you can cut the cost tremendously by buying cell phone mobile labs for each school, cutting the cost for shipping huge computers and the cell phones would provide the same experience as computers.
There are a few pitfalls of cell phone use in classrooms. Some people say it might create an environment that would be conducive for students to cheat during testing. For example, students could easily Google for answers while testing. Classroom management especially for issues like texting, sexting, and cyber bulling can potentially be difficult to manage for the seasoned and the less seasoned educators alike.
What do you think about adopting cell phone technology in the Tanzanian education system? Will it work and save money that the government does not have? What do you foresee to be the main challenges? Opportunities?
Till then, Take care!!!