Transforming Cell Phone Distractions Into Personalized Learning Interactions

This workshop exposes educators to tools that increase their capacity to add an efficient digital learning component to their instruction by challenging the notion that there’s no place for cell phones and other mobile devices in the classroom. Participants engage in simulated classroom sessions using free and subscribed web-based applications. The workshop features and integrates technologies that can easily streamline the inclusion of cell phones and other mobile devices into the classroom for one or more of the following purposes: formative assessment, interactive lectures with immediate feedback, reflections, student portfolios, large and small group projects, and informal assessments.

The facilitator introduces the web-based applications while leading participants through activities that familiarize them with the featured technologies. Participants experience how students can use the apps while learning how to facilitate activities in their instructional role. The session culminates with participants creating artifacts or brainstorming ideas for implementing the featured technologies into their professional learning communities.

By the end of this workshop, participants know or are able to:

By the end of this session, participants will be more confident about how to engage students via their mobile devices, have more control over potential distractions caused by students using mobile devices, and possess strategies where students’ mobile devices are used as an asset to the instructor rather than a distraction.

  • Identify how the presented technologies can be used to increase educators’ capacities to personalize student learning.
  • Identify how the presented technologies can be used to reduce wasted time and paper and streamline communication through platforms other than email.
  • Explore the benefits and potential challenges associated with using the presented technologies in classroom activities.
  • Explore techniques that keep students on task while using mobile devices or laptops.
  • Experiment with ways the presented technologies can be implemented by each participant (individual/small group work sessions).

Participants can claim a digital badge and certificate upon completing the workshop and a post-workshop survey.

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Workshop Facilitator

Marcus E.R. Williams is an educator who has worked and taught in K-12 and postsecondary settings for over 15 years. Currently he is the content leader for Economics and teaches AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics at Newton High School in Covington, GA. He was voted the “Top” teacher—a distinguished honor—by the top ten graduating seniors in the class of 2018. Mr. Williams is well known for his teaching style and for integrating technology into his classes, conference sessions, and workshops. He has presented at numerous conferences, including NISOD’s annual conference, and works as a consultant, training educators how to employ digital learning strategies. Mr. Williams earned his B.S. degree from Clark Atlanta University, M.A.T. degree from LaGrange College, and his Ed.S. degree from Columbus State University. His goal is to inspire, educate, and build capacity.

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Please contact Edward Leach at or (512) 232-1430 for additional information or to arrange to have a campus-based workshop or regional workshop brought to your college or area.

Workshops supplement NISOD’s offerings of professional development programs and resources, which culminate with NISOD’s Annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence held every Memorial Day weekend in Austin, Texas. NISOD’s annual conference is noted as the premier convening of community and technical college faculty, administrators, and staff who strive for excellence in leadership, teaching, and learning. For more information about NISOD’s conference or to register, visit