Using Smartphones to Support Struggling Students

The website, te@chthought, posted a series of articles about how teachers can integrate smartphones into classroom instruction in exciting and meaningful ways. Over time, the strategies kept growing and they include valuable ways to enhance your instruction. Consider the following ideas:

Many of these ideas are particularly relevant for struggling students, including those students with disabilities. The suggestions offer teachers ways to personalize instruction and support students as they collaborate, communicate, and create.  Here are key recommendations from these three articles to help get started.




  • Make brainstorming visible via a projected image with and
  • Create a shared list of notes by making a Google Form available.
  • Have students post relevant links to videos, websites, etc. for a unit of study.
  • Use the Skype smartphone app for peer tutoring or feedback.
  • Use Wi-Fi Direct for instantaneous peer-to-peer sharing of data.


  • Use FaceTime on the iPhone to add outside audience members during class discussion or learning activities.
  • Use a Twitter hashtag to augment the in-class lesson or extend the conversation after class.
  • Send students reminders in-class/after-class through ClassParrot and Remind 101.
  • Use Podcasts to record, share, broadcast, save, or socialize.


  • Peruse playlists while double-checking the lyrics on the internet to create a soundtrack that applies to current studies.
  • Set up a portable writing station by connecting a keyboard to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
  • Listen to music as source of inspiration for creative projects.
  • Create an instant song with Songify. Have no singing or rapping talent? No worries. Just speak into the app and let it work all the magic.
  • Make a geometry lesson real by photographing examples of various angles and theorems on campus.

To take full advantage of any of these great ideas, use the PowerUp English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Instructional Strategy Guides to find evidence-based practices that are aligned to College and Career Readiness Standards. If you are involved with planning blended professional development, check out the PD Playlists. These playlists offer a compilation of materials drawn from PowerUp for face-to-face and virtual professional learning activities.

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