February 20, 2009

Future for cell phones in classrooms?

A University of Michigan professor and a Texas teacher say cell phones are the future of classroom computers.

Matt Cook, a teacher at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School in Keller, Texas, said a class of fifth graders have been using donated Verizon smart phones with specialized software to perform tasks including Internet research and using Microsoft Office programs Word and Excel, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday.

Cook said he came up with the idea for classroom use of cell phones, which students in the district are banned from carrying in all other contexts, after attending a technology conference.

To me, this is the new paper and pencil, Cook said to the newspaper.

Elliot Soloway, the University of Michigan professor who created the software for the school, said cell phones are rapidly becoming a necessary accessory for every child.

Laptops are oh so '90s -- they're your parents' generation, Soloway told the Morning News. While every kid does need a computer, the computer that will happen on will be cell phones. The cell phone is now as important as a pair of shoes or a coat.