Image via WikipediaWhen this topic is brought up for discussion there are often those to the far right and those to the far left, very few in the middle. Most traditional educators look at cell phones as distractions, disruptions and even a way to cheat. However, most forward thinking educators view cell phones as a way to connect students, allow them to communicate and collaborate and also teach proper use and digital citizenship.
As technology continues to change and our cell phones become more than just a device for placing phone calls or sending text messages - shouldn't we as educators look at how to integrate these devices rather than find ways to remove them? Too many times I hear of educational leaders searching for a solution to ban cell phones, enforce punishments for cell phone use or seeking a way implement a cell phone jammer. What if we took all that time and energy of searching for a way to remove these devices and applied it towards finding a way to safely and effectively implement them into daily instruction.
What if our educators took time out of each day to reinforce the proper, safe and secure way of using these devices - not only inside the walls of the classroom - but outside as well? Don't you believe that would begin to reduce the number of inappropriate uses (sexting)?
I firmly believe that these devices have a place inside our walls. Too many school districts do not have the funds to implement a 1:1 solution where they go out and purchase a device for every student. But how many of those same students already have a Wi-Fi, Internet ready, app store / iTunes loaded device sitting in their pocket? Imagine every student in your high school utilizing a device they already own and you simply have to provide a safe and secure environment for them to use it? Isn't that a better use of dollars?
It was announced today that as a part of the new iPhone upgrades - iTunes will start offering textbooks through its online store. Apple has taken a bold step by partnering with major textbook companies - realizing that positions their device to be a major player within K-12 and Higher Education.
My district is not ready to allow our students to bring cell phones in tomorrow. But my hope is that we can begin educating our faculty/staff and administration on how to effectively implement these devices, rather than continuing to spend valuable time and resources researching how to remove them.
How is this issue being handled in your district? Are you currently allowing cell phone usage in your classrooms? If not, why? Do you want these devices in your school? What sort of potential do you see for their use?
Here are some reads I came across today discussing this issue:
Students Turn Cell Phones on For Classroom Lessons
Industry Makes Pitch that Smartphones belong in the Classroom
Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools
JDS | CIO