Students connect through ‘whisper phones’
No apps. No unlimited texting. In fact, these phones don’t even have a key pad for dialing, but they were still able to provide a number of benefits to students at Governor Mifflin High School and Brecknock Elementary. The “whisper phones,” as they are called, were created by students in Jan Jack’s and Trisha Master’s Family and Consumer Science Everyday Living classes. Students assembled PVC piping materials into the shape of an (old school) phone receiver and then delivered them to kindergarten students at Brecknock. While low-tech in nature, the whisper phones are a highly functional literacy tool. New readers can use them to read aloud, speaking quietly into the “phone” which amplifies their voice and channels the sound of their voice to their ear. A classroom full of students can read quietly to themselves without chaos. When students hear their own voice reading they can focus on blending sounds and creating the proper enunciation. The project was also a learning opportunity for the high school classes, which had been discussing communication. “One of the goals of the course is to help students realize the importance of investing in their community through a variety of activities, including community service,” explained Jack. “Mrs. Master and I feel strongly that part of the curriculum should be to provide students an opportunity to connect learning to human needs and give the students a sense of social responsibility and community.” The high school students assembled enough whisper phones for each kindergarten student at Brecknock and then visited the classrooms to help students learn how to use the devices.