Cell phone use in Colorado classrooms calls on new innovations

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Colorado school districts have largely ceded the management of student cellphone use to individual schools and classroom teachers, which has led to everything from outright bans of the devices to their use as a powerful, and economical, learning tool.

Matthew Farber understands teachers’ frustrations with cellphones, which seem as attached to a modern teenager as an arm and a leg. In fact, 85 percent of those aged 14 to 17 in the United State have cellphones, as do 69 percent of 11-14 year-olds.

“You don’t want a student with his head down in class, playing Angry Birds on their cellphone and not engaging in the classroom,” Farber, a former middle school teacher, said. “Roman history by itself is no match for World of Warcraft,” added Farber, now an assistant professor of education at the University of Northern Colorado and an expert on melding cellphone use into the classroom.

“But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

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