Article 2: Some Schools Rethink Bans on Cell Phones
Article 3: From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning
Imagine that your principal is considering allowing cell phone use in the classrooms at your school. What advice would you give him/her? Would you recommend lifting the cell phone ban at your school? Why/why not? What rules, guidelines, and suggestions would you recommend? What are the educational benefits you would cite for using cell phones in the classroom? OR What limitations and difficulties would you cite for continuing a ban in your school?
These are difficult questions because I think what will work for me, may not work for another teacher. I think one of the reasons cell phones have been banned is that most teachers don't know how (and aren't interested in learning how) to use them as educational tools. So, before changing policy to allow cell phone use in class, I would recommend that teachers be surveyed about their thoughts and possible experiences with using cell phones in the classroom. Once a ban is lifted, teachers would need ongoing training to help them use these devices to enhance the learning that is already going on in their classrooms.
Second, I included an image from one of the articles we read because I think it does a great job of showing how students consistently use their cell phones at inappropriate times and for inappropriate uses. In addition to training teachers, I think students need to be trained on how to use their cell phones and other devices appropriately. Teachers can model appropriate use, regular class and school announcements could give tips and ideas, and a list of positive reinforcements for appropriate uses should be shared and discussed regularly. There will still be inappropriate use, so some negative consequences will still need to be in place.
Finally, the biggest concern I have is how to provide all students with a device so that no one feels left out. I have done some online polls and other projects using cell phones, and while I had alternatives methods for participation in place (written responses, use of a classroom computer, etc.) the students without a device felt a little left out of the experience.
I am all for lifting the ban on cell phones. Before we do, though, I think we need much more training for teachers and students. More than anything we need to be able to provide a device for every student so that those who bring their own are the only students who are able to participate.