Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cell Fones @ Skool

With the election weeks away, Fremd High School teacher Jason Spoor asked students in his government class, some of them first-time voters, to research local candidates vying for office.

They would have 15 minutes and one learning tool: their cell phone.

"If you are driving down the street and headed to vote, you don't have a computer at the touch of a hand. You have a cell phone," Spoor told his students last week in Palatine.

The lesson would have been impossible in the past. But with cell phones tucked in the book bags and pockets of three-fourths of today's teens, many high schools are ceding defeat in the battle to keep hand-held technology out of class and instead are inviting students to use their phones for learning.

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Under a teacher's guidance, students might record themselves speaking a foreign language, text an answer to an online quiz or send themselves a homework reminder.

"It's one of those things — if you can't beat them, join them," said Jill Bullo, principal of Wheaton North High School, which plans to review its policy this year. link

That wimp doesn't deserve to be a principal. Surrendering to teenagers is not a legitimate reason to allow the use of cell phones in class; the only legitimate reason is if such use contributes to a student's understanding of the required/approved curriculum.

5 comments:

maxutils said...

I disagree -- he appears to have exactly the traits of a principal. ;)

Anonymous said...

I sometimes used to get the kids to text their answers to me when I asked a question in class. I had a website built that could display the answers that they texted in. It was fun and it engaged the kids who might not like to put their hand up in class.

maxutils said...

It occurs to me that a better lesson would be, "If you're driving to the polling place and all you have is a cell phone, and you need to figure out how to vote -- go back home, and let the people who are informed decide."

5wahls said...

What a farce! Lets see, this teach er is promoting:

-driving while using the cell phone (I'm going by the quote)
-incomplete prep for voting (waiting until 15 minutes before one votes - the voter can't fully comprehend the issues or candidates)
-isolating students as odd whose parents might not have bought their kids a cell phone (my 13 year old doesn't have one); or, if the kid does have a cell phone but not a plan that pays for data download.

Cell phones are optional "wants" and do not need to be part of a curriculum. I teach writing at a university and we spend a week showing the students how to use the library for real research beyond a Google term, and this is the first time in the library for most students. High schools need to be prepping their students in manners beyond using a cell phone (I won't get into teaching students how to write or use Word beyond saving a file and using the automatic bullet option).

Ellen K said...

Given that the majority of my students seem to have forgotten how to spell thanks to texting, I believe such a dumbing down of learning with cell phone education is a very slippery slope. I will add however that I can produce a lesson plan where students take photos of a still life with their cell phones to use for editing purposes. But then I could also do that with a digital camera.