Phones in Schools, The Responsible Approach

http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/07/5-reasons-to-allow-students-to-use-cell.html

In Lisa Nielsen’s blog above a great debate is brought up on whether kids should have cell phones in school.

Agree with Lisa, that it is far less detrimental to allow students to utilize the technology they have available to them, rather than stifling it.

The best quote I got out of the article was one she made from a fellow blogger/tweeter Kevin Honeycutt, “”Students used to pass notes on paper.  We never banned paper.”

Not only have kids been passing notes, but making paper airplanes that disrupt the class, or simply balling up paper and throwing it around the room.  Ultimately it’s highly drastic to eliminate paper because of these distractions, so we teach students to be responsible with it.

Then the argument is made about cheating.  I completely agree that if a test or exam is easy enough for a student to either text a friend, or look up the answer then the test needs to change.  Teacher’s use scantrons for tests because it’s easier to grade and it resembles the standardized test they will take in the future.  Of course with all the ease of multiple choice scantron tests comes the same ease in cheating.  In the end kids don’t need phones to cheat.  Cheating happened well before the digital age and will occur well into it.  Teaching a student early on the value of their own work and the work of others will hopefully teach them why cheating and plagiarism is bad and not just against the rules.

Keeping kids “safe” is no longer a good enough excuse for banning personal technology.  In a world where they will most likely be using cell phones and computers in their daily professional life, they must learn to be responsible with technology not just kept away from it.

There’s a big bad world out there, the job of schools and teachers is to prepare them for it, not shy them away from it.