Students participating in this lesson unit are 12th grade, inner-city high school seniors. Most, if not all, have ownership or the use of cellular devices, and use them regularly. One of the most pervading problems in our school is the use of these devices for the purposes of communication and/or distraction during classes. The behavior is not uniformly disciplined – each teacher has their own method for dealing with said issue. Some teachers let it go, over-looked. Some teachers are very strict to the point of confiscating devices. The methods run the gamut, but the one uniform certainty is that the issue persists, and it affects instruction.
Additionally, there is not currently a senior-level English research paper required. The advent of PA 12 – 40 (a CT legislation requiring high school seniors to maintain certain SAT scores for admission to state colleges, as they will no longer be offering developmental courses in English and math), has brought to light the lack of research and composition skills from which graduating seniors are suffering.
Therefore, this unit will offer a method through which distracting cell phone use can be combated; a hopeful enlightenment by which students can realize how much more advantageous use of their cell phones can be; and techniques to effectively and validly research and compose a written work of academic significance – all through the study of pictures. Recent studies have shown that the incidence of discipline for cell phone usage in schools is dropping, indicating that educators are realizing that their time is better spent on instruction than trying to stave the use of cell phones in class. Since we are coming to the realization that they are here to stay, why not employ cell phones to the academic use they are so very apt for?