“Can You Hear Me Now?”:
Valuing Cell Phones in the
Composition Classroom
1 MAY 2008
My Cell Phone
Engaged Pedagogy:
Discourses & Epistemologies
Discourses – Our ways of communicating as well as what can be
communicated in distinct social contexts
Epistemologies – Our ways of knowing, or structuring knowledge,
influenced by our discourses and social contexts.
“Each mode demands […] epistemological commitments”
(Kress 57).
Discourse, “has no outward existence other than in […]
modal fixing” (47).
Engaged Pedagogy:
Discourses & Epistemologies
Functional Literacy – “Students as users of technology” “effective[ly]
employ[ing]” that technology “as tools” (Selber 25).
Critical Literacy – “Students as questioners of technology” “critiquing”
technology “as cultural artifacts” (25).
Rhetorical Literacy – “Students as producers of technology” reflecting upon
and effectively communicating via technology, “as hypertextual media” (25).
“A functionally literate student makes use of the specialized
discourses associated with computers” within “social
conventions that help determine computer use” (45).
Engaged Pedagogy:
Discourses & Epistemologies
“Teaching is a performative act” (hooks 11).
Valuing student, “speech […] forges a space for alternative
cultural production and alternative epistemologies—
different ways of thinking and knowing” (171).
“There is little or no discussion of the way in which the
attitudes of those from materially privileged classes are
imposed upon everyone via biased pedagogical strategies”
“[C]ritical pedagogy seeks to transform consciousness, to
provide students with ways of knowing that enable them to
know themselves better and live in the world more fully”
Cell Phones & Students
Students’ Views of Cell Phones
• Students both appreciate use of cell phones in classrooms and
acknowledge the problems (Campbell 286).
• Students use mobile technology disconnect and reconnect (Starkman).
British Journal of Sociology of Education
• Socialization , learning, and ideology formation move out physical
institutions and into autonomous, digital spaces (Holmes and Russel 7173).
• Learning moves from normalization to individuation (Selwyn133-34,
Cell Phones & the Classroom
Marked by Negative Discourse
• National Education Association - 85% of “higher education instructors in the
U.S. agreed that professors should ban mobile phones from being used in
university classrooms” (Campbell 281).
Concern Expressed…
• “[E]moticons and other informal styles have crept in” to student writing
• Classroom distraction s (ringing, texting, talking, gaming)
• Cheating
• Cyber-bullying
• Decreased Learning
• Policies on Cell Phone Use in schools and classrooms
• Student and Teacher Privacy
• Legal problems
Cell Phones & the Classroom
Educational/Academic Uses of Cell Phones
•Teacher/Institutional access to students
• Emergency communication
• Transfer of course materials
• Student-student and student-teacher discussion
• Not designed for educational use
• Access/Cost – Socio-economic barriers to devices in general as well as to
specific tools
Reading, Analyzing, & Writing the Cell Phone
Project: Reading, Analyzing, and Writing the Cell Phone
User’s Log
Critical Essay
• Used or unused?
• Familiarity with
• Record/transcribe
• When? How
• With Whom?
• What are messages
• For What Purpose?
• What impedes/ encourages
• In what contexts are they
• How do these contexts
influence what is talked
• How do contexts constrain
• Relationship to
• How do these relationships
influence what is talked
• Prevalent patterns of use
• In what new contexts could
features be used
delimit/empower my
• How can I more effectively
using these features in
old/new contexts?
• What new messages
should I communicate to
others? How do I do this?
• How can I maximize my
use of these features to
benefit me/others?
• How do I unify my
rhetorical use of these
with other features?
Reading, Analyzing, & Writing the Cell Phone
Concerns (Addressed):
• Students need access, but project does not rely upon uniform technology, unlike
educational communication uses.
• Not all students have cell phones, but project can be extended to other student
Student as Consumer:
• Steve Westbrook, in College English, is concerned about “a pedagogy of vieweror reader-reception. In other words, to ‘do’ visual rhetoric in composition too often
means not to work with students on authoring multimedia visual texts that combine
words and images but, rather, to work on critically reading visual artifacts and
demonstrating this critical reading through the evidence of a print essay” (460).
Works Cited
“BTW, Teen Writing May Cause Teachers to :(.” CNN.com. 24 Apr. 2008. 25 Apr. 2008.
Campbell, Scott. “Perception of Mobile Phones in College Classrooms: Ringing, Cheating, and Classroom Policies.”
Communication Education. 55.3 (2006): 280-94.
Fischman, Josh. “The Campus in the Palm of Your Hand.” Chronicle of Higher Education. 11 May 2007. Academic Search
Premier. EBSCO. Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN. 20 April 2008.
Galuska, Peter. “Technology’s Latest Wave: Colleges and Universities Are Increasingly Exploring the Academic Use of Digital
Mobile Devices-But Lack of Money Sometimes Stands in the Way.” Black Issues in Higher Education. 22.2 (2005).
ERIC. EBSCO. Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN. 20 Apr. 2008.
Gerard, Vanessa. “Updating Policy on Latest Risks for Students with Cell Phones in the School.” Education Digest. Dec. 2006.
Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN. 20 Apr. 2008.
Gilroy, Marilyn. “Invasion of the Classroom Cell Phones.” Education Digest. Feb. 2004. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO.
Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN. 20 Apr. 2008.
Honawar, Vaishali. “Cell Phones in Classrooms Land Teachers on Online Video Sites.” Education Digest. Feb. 2008: 29-33.
hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress. NY: Routledge, 1994.
Holmes, David, and Glenn Russell. “Adolescent CIT Use: Paradigm Shifts for Educational and Cultural Practices?” British
Journal of Sociology of Education. 20.1 (1999): 69-78.
Johnson, Clarence, and William Allan Kritsonis. “National School Debate: Banning Cell Phones on Public School Campuses in
America.” National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journals. 25.4 (2007): 1-6.
Kim, Sang Hyun, Kerry Holmes, and Clif Mims. “Mobile Wireless Technology Use and Implementation: Opening a Dialogue on
the New Technologies in Education.” TechTrends. 49.3 (2005): 54-64.
Works Cited
Kress, Gunther. Literacy in the New Media Age. NY: Routledge, 2003.
“Mobile Learning and the Connected Campus.” Abilene Christian University. 2008. 23 Apr. 2008.
Parry, Gareth. “Camera/Video Phones in Schools: Law and Practice.” Education and the Law. 17.3 (2005): 73-85.
Pickett, A. Dean, and Christopher Thomas. “Turn Off That Phone: Legal Responses to Cell Phones, Cameras, and Other
Electronic Distractions.” American School Board Journal. Apr. 2006: 40-4.
Reid, Axel. “Tuning In: Infusing Media Networks into Professional Writing Curriculum.” Kairos 12.2 (2008). 22 Apr. 2008.
http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/12.2/binder.html?praxis/reid/ index.html.
Rismark, Marit, et al. “Using Mobile Phones to Prepare for University Lectures: Student’s Experiences.” The Turkish Online
Journal of Educational Technology. 6.4 (2007) ERIC. EBSCO. Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN. 20 Apr. 2008.
Selber, Stuart. Multiliteracies for a Digital Age. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2004.
Selwyn, Neil. “Schooling the Mobile Generation: The Future for Schools in the Mobile-Networked Society.” British Journal of
Sociology of Education. 24.2 (2003): 131-44.
Starkman, Neal. “What Students Want: Leave Me Alone…I’m Socializing.” T.H.E. Journal. 34.3 (2007) ERIC. EBSCO. Ball
State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN. 20 Apr. 2008.
Strom, Peter, and Robert Strom. “Curbing Cheating, Raising Integrity.” Education Digest. Apr. 2007. Academic Search
Premier. EBSCO. Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN. 20 Apr. 2008.
Westbrook, Steve. “Visual Rhetoric in a Culture of Fear: Impediments to Multimedia Production.” College English. 68.5 (2006):
Young, Jeffrey. “Abilene Christian U. to Give iPhones or iPods to All Freshmen.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 28 Feb.
2008. 23 Apr. 2008. http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/2782/university-to-give-iphones-or-ipods-to-all-incomingfreshmen.
Works Cited
“CellPhones.” Houston’s Clear Thinkers. 4 Oct. 2007. 25 Apr. 2008. http://blog.kir.com/
Dietrich, Donna. “bell hooks.” VG: Critque. 2006. 25 Apr. 2008. http://voices.cla.umn.edu/vg/ Bios/entries/hooks_bell.html.
“From Connected: The Movie.” Abilene Christian University. 2008. 25 Apr. 2008.
“Gunther Kress.” Allborg Universitet. 19 Feb. 2007. 25 Apr. 2008. http://diskurs.hum.aau.dk/ english/dexus2/dexus.htm.
“Stuart Selber.” Penn State University. 2008. 25 Apr. 2008. http://ist.psu.edu/ist/directory/ faculty/?EmployeeID=408.

Can You Hear Me Now?”: Valuing Cell Phones in the