Cell phones, etc. in schools

Thinking about the students in our schools, their MP3 players, cell phones, and PSP’s that teachers are forever confiscating and turning into my office for “discipline”, I’m imagining there must be a better solution. Couple this question with the idea that my personal opinion on the subject is that students will always use the gadgets that they love and what’s wrong with that anyway? How do we reconcile the students’ desire to text and connect to friends 24/7 with the teachers’ need to engage the student? Maybe that’s the answer. If the students are engaged and interested in the learning, they won’t be more interested in the next text message. Is good teaching alone the answer? I think it certainly helps but why can’t we figure out a way to engage students using the technology that they are so comfortable with in a meaningful way that furthers our educational goals?

How do we embrace that which we cannot nor should not eliminate? How do we use it to our educational advantage in engaging students with our content?

  1. I don’t believe that the problem with cell phones and other personal technologies is something that is solely a classroom problem. I do not have a problem with students using cell phones in my classroom. They are not permitted to be used, and therefore, my students respect me enough not to use them. I do not feel that I need to have a school rule to back up my classroom rules. In the classroom, I’m the leader, and my rules are followed whether they are the same as a fellow teacher or different. Rules that work for me do not necessarily work for someone else and vice versa.

    So, if classroom management isn’t the issue with cell phone usage, then what is? For me, the use of cell phones and other technologies are allowing us less control over the sharing of information that is related to assessments. This is why the Board of Regents does not allow students to have them in their possession during a test. Student A takes a test, and quickly sends messages to Student B about the content. Alright, let’s be realistic, Student A takes a test, runs down the hall and verbally shares this information with Student B, at least that’s how we did it when I was in school. It is scary how much easier cheating has gotten. Student does their homework on a palm, computer, fill in technology here, and can easily beam, email, etc it onto another’s palm…

    While attending NYSCATE conferences, this is what thrilled us and scared us at the same time. The presenter would say, see how easy it is to pass out a worksheet, just beam it to the first person in each row, and they can beam it back to the person behind them. Teachers oohed and aahed, and then thought, “They could do the same with the answers.”

    As technology changes and becomes a more integral part of our society, how do we change as teachers? How do our assessments change so that we know all students are learning? And how are these challenges any different with the addition of new technologies?

  2. I don’t like taking things away from students and I don’t encourage my staff to do so. If a student is disrupting class, then there are better ways to deal with it than taking it away. I agree, we should use technology more by seeking creative ways to utilize it. I hope that when my daughter gets to school, someone will have invented some sort of wi-fi palm treo/pc tablet/alphasmart neo for little elementary students.

  3. I agree with Cindy. I think we have so many problems with these items because students are not tuned in to school. Why is this? Because teachers are not integrating technology enough. When teachers are still teaching with worksheets, lecture, and pen & paper notes, we are alienating these kids.

  4. The average high school in 2006 is not embracing the technology – not integrating it into the curricula or into the culture. We know that the technology is only going to become more sophisticated and that students are natural users of technology, therefore, we must infuse the technology into our schools. I think you are right about the engagement within the classroom making a difference. Building relationships will enhance the mutual respect and decipline issues (not just over technology) would likely eliminate those situations. The culture to allow and encourage technology is set by the leadership. How important do you think it is that students be on top of the latest technology? How do you grow a culture who is responsible, yet cutting edge? Maybe including the students in setting tech guidelines?

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