BBC NEWS | Technology | Controlling the hi-tech helpers
reporter Anna Lacey went to Park House school in Newbury, where they have been experimenting with the use of mobile phones in school.photo by JonJon2k8
Instead of banning phones and giving detention to any student foolish enough to take out their mobile in class, the school has been part of a nine-month research project into whether they can be used effectively in teaching.
The results are interesting to those of us who have seen how our children embrace new technologies.
During 2007 and 2008 Dr Elizabeth Hartnell-Young from the Learning Sciences Research Institute at Nottingham University and her colleagues explored ways in which students in five secondary schools could use smartphones in class.
They started from the premise that mobile phones are now "small, personal computers, providing clock, calendar, games, music player, Bluetooth connection, internet access, and high-quality camera functions in addition to voice calls and short messaging", and decided to find out whether they had a role in class.
The conclusions were hardly surprising. During the nine-month experiment, the range of activities that the smartphones could be used for was impressively broad, from timing experiments to listening to foreign language podcasts to accessing the school's student support system remotely.
Some students even recorded their teacher reading a poem to use for revision.