Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cell Phones are Evil?

Over and over again I see the issue of cell phone use in schools as one of banning them, rather than finding a way to teach their ethical and educational use during school hours. I know all of the challenges (or many of them) that cell phones bring to the classroom. It just seems to me that there has to be a better way of managing this tool than preventing students from using it. What would I do if I had to hide my cell phone all day, or sneak outside to send a text message? Granted, I might have a more fully developed pre-frontal cortex than most teens, but still. And as a teacher, if 90% of my kids have digital cameras they could be using for class projects at no cost to me or the school, why wouldn't I want to take advantage of that? Here's an article from Education World that addresses this issue in more depth. Bold type is my addition.

Crafting A Workable Cell Phone Policy
With so many families depending on cell phones, banning them from schools became pointless. Now the debate is how to regulate phone use in schools, as more students own camera phones and ones that can send text messages and connect to the Internet.

Just a few years ago, it looked like regulating cellular phone use in schools was getting a lot easier. Cell phones had become ubiquitous and innocuous, and making it a school offense or even a crime to possess them on school grounds didn't make much sense anymore.

But just as states and school districts were relaxing their policies, along came a new generation of cell phone -- with cameras, Internet access, and text messaging -- that it seems every teen must have. Now administrators are wrestling with how to permit the legitimate use of phones, while preventing possible privacy violations and cheating.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Role of the Network Administrator

While Educause focuses more on the university level, I thought this article from H. David Lambert best explained the recent and comprehensive shift in the role of a network admin. What this confirms for me is both the need to support network administrators in their work around the issues Lambert shares, and the need for additional technology integrationists to focus on the use of technology in classroom instruction. The impact of technology on schools has made this far too diverse a topic for one person to be able to manage it all.