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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Unlocking the Quiet Moment: Cell Phones, a Surprising Tool | Effective Teaching Strategies - Faculty Focus

In-class activities can be a great way to foster student engagement in the classroom by Bryan J. Coleman, MBA, Author at Faculty Focus. 

Photo: Faculty Focus

Depending on the activity, the results can vary greatly. Sometimes they can fall flat, but every so often an activity manages to hold the students’ undivided attention.

This leads to what my friend Tom refers to as “The Quiet Moment” – that moment where the entire room is silent and the students are all actively engaged in the material, researching and problem solving.  There is magic in that moment, when the gears are turning in their heads and they’re using the tools you’ve set them up with to learn on their own.  I never get tired of it and aspire to have it happening as often as possible.

Recently, I’ve found that an unlikely tool can help unlock these moments. The cell phone, ubiquitous in modern society, has the potential to become the bane of an educator’s existence.  It provides endless distraction, especially in courses that may be perceived as “dry” material.  I should know; I teach taxes.  Even in a class of all accounting majors, I tread a fine line between fostering engagement and putting people to sleep. So, I am in prime territory to fall victim to runaway cell phone use.

In a Teaching Professor article, “Cell Phone Use and Abuse: The Details,” several statistics illustrate the proliferation of this device...

One technique that I employ from time to time in class is this: rather than lecture on a given topic, which in my class may be a certain tax deduction or credit, I will present the class with the topic and then provide multiple situations where this item may or may not apply.  Then I tell them to pull out their phones, research the item, and decide for each situation whether the tax deduction or credit applies.

Source: Faculty Focus