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.


Kris Baldwin said...

Is it wrong to comment on your own blog? Hope not, cuz I'm doing it. Just got this blog post from a colleague; echoes my sentiments perfectly.

maggie said...

I like it when authors comment on their own blogs! In fact, please do it again!
When one one of our high schools had a bomb threat and the kids were evacuated...and the radio was giving only scary was very reassuring to receive a text from my 18 year-old grandson saying he was okay. Just one more reason to allow cell phones into schools...

smallawei said...


Anonymous said...

I think that most schools need to have a vigorous debate about the cell phone use policy in their building. All schools could no doubt find ways that they could harness the power of connectivity that cell phones offer. However, the advantages need to be weighed against the distractions that arise from cell phone use in classes. I can’t imagine any school that truly understands the possibilities that cell phones offer would exit that debate with a policy banning cell phone use in their building.