I’m heading to class, but you can reach me on my cell

22May08

OMG @amyyen, @mariagarcia, @willwheeler, @sarahhutton, @lauranelson, @melissaeddy, @pamelump, @aslreaders: did you hear that NYC public schools officially banned the use of cell phones at school?

A few weeks ago (I know, I’m slow on picking this story up), TechNewsWorld’s Bob Longo wrote in his Think Before You Ban: A Handheld Is a Powerful Learning Tool article, “We can all understand how that might happen. As with any communication device, abuse does occur. But simultaneously, there is a wave of interest in education in 1:1 learning initiatives (supplying one laptop to every child), meaning that educators believe in the learning benefits of one laptop for each student… Banning cell phones, iPods and other devices may work in the short term to address certain concerns, but in the long run it means missing out on a huge opportunity to prepare today’s students for the real world of the 21st century.”

What do you think about this new policy and Bob’s take on it? Is your cell merely a distraction from class (ie. do you check Facebook and sms friends when you’re sitting in a boring lecture) or could it be used to deepen the experience you have in class?

And if cells are banned, should laptops be as well? I know I’ve been in classes in which everyone around me is using a laptop in class. Some are taking notes but some are definitely on AIM, iChat, FB, Twitter, Perez… I’ve also been in classes in which professors really use the technology we have to make the class more engaging by allowing us to check out and discuss articles and blog posts online. I’ve also been in more than one class when a student had a question the teacher couldn’t answer and another student took out his/her laptop and Googled the question to find the answer.

Image from here

-Amanda Mooney



3 Responses to “I’m heading to class, but you can reach me on my cell”

  1. 1 sarahhutton

    I realize that cell phones in schools have caused problems, especially with cheating and the new rise in internet ready PDAs. But still I think it’s a little impractical to completely ban cell phones. When I was in HS we would get in trouble, ie. detention, or sent to the office for having phones out so relatively no one would be on their phones or using them during the day. I guess these “old” methods aren’t working anymore? Maybe the problem really has gotten out of hand…

  2. My experience with technology in the classroom has been so mixed. Personally, computers in the classroom have always been a distraction even if I said i was “taking notes” AIM, blogs, etc etc were always open. In the end I never absorbed the material as well as if I was hand writing it all.

    The cell phone situation is unfortunate because they’re so important for safety even. My parents got me a phone when I went into middle school so that I could get in touch with them for rides and all the rest, let alone for safety in a big city like NYC.

    I think this is a mis-step and that there needs to be a different solution to the problem somewhere.

  3. in a place like nyc, this is just not sensible. people often forget that cell phones were originally intended for one thing only: communication. even though they have evolved into a bigger classroom distraction than spit-balls and passing notes, they’re absolutely critical to the average person’s existence whether you like it or not.



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