1. They are powerful tools
2. They are easy to use
3. The children do not need to be trained in their use they know it already…. they can show you!
4. They can be used for immediate access to information
5. If they take pictures or videos they can provide children with a means to get visual data immediately
6. They have a recording facility which will promote oracy in the classroom and can be used for podcasts or for incorporation into blogs
7. They have calculator facilities which will promote calculator use in investigation or just in ordinary day to day mathematics work
8. They have a messaging facility which comes in handy for communication (in a disciplined way within the school day).
9. They have really good organisers that can provide information about dates, events and as reminders of when assignments, homework or coursework needs to be handed in and is a good life skill for the children to practise and learn to use effectively.
10. Media can be saved and used in groupwork (videos, music tracks)
These are just some of the things that most mobile phones can do today. If you look at the power of the iphone or the Android phones with their amazing Apps then you can extend this list almost endlessly.
I know there will be arguments against their use… that they can lead to bullying, that the children will spend all their time texting or playing games. All I can say is that the school sets the groundrules and the majority of children will obey them. Some will lose their valuable phones and some will have them stolen… some will bully others but that cannot be used as an excuse to cut every child off from a powerful tool that can really add to their learning and change the way that their school lets them learn.
Some schools have already made the bold step of allowing the phones in. I think in ten years time we will look back and ask what all the fuss was about and why we had all the discussion about something that will really help our children learn better.