Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cell Phones In Class

When one school district in the greater Washington D.C. area decided to get more relaxed about cell phones, it apparently went all the way – not only allowing their use in the hallways and cafeteria, but the classroom too.

But using smartphones in the classroom doesn’t mean students will be able text, surf, talk or access media, as most teens do for much of their waking hours. Instead, the district is joining a growing wave of schools using wireless devices -- in particular, phones -- as teaching and learning tools.  link
Seriously, how does a cell phone help in a math class?

Maybe I’m just lucky and have all the technology I need, but I’m just not seeing it. And if you think kids *will* stay on task if the teacher just dances around and is entertaining enough, you’re clearly not spending enough time with teenagers. If you think they can be *taught* appropriate manners, remember that they’ll be taught these manners by the same people who tune out with their phones during faculty meetings.


Ellen K said...

Administrators like to claim that the students are using these devices for educational purposes. Perhaps a few are, but my observation after two years of such nonsense is that the students no longer talk in class, because they are too busy texting. They often do not listen because they will snake earbuds under their shirts and behind their ears so we can't see them easily. They often spend time playing games, watching movies and generally doing anything and everything but what is in the class at hand. Now every student in my district has an Ipad. The poor librarians are saddled with the job of maintaining the things as they are dropped, left outside, spilled on or used to carry other things. The cost of the software alone would provide far more teachers and much smaller classes. I have had to greatly dilute my subjects, but not to worry, it seems that AP and most state schools are following suit. While there will always been good students who will rise to the need, we are seeing more students who do not know even the basic facts about our nation, our culture, our language, our literature or any of the things most generations consider the basis of our lives. I shudder to think what is coming in 15 years. These are the folks who think Colbert is the news and The Onion is valid.

pseudotsuga said...

It may be related to the current fad of self-learning. You know, empowerment of the student and the eradication of the dictatorship of the teacher. That, and technology is cool, man, and we want to show the kids that we are hip...
It's more cargo cult education--kinda like what happened in the housing bubble:
(1) middle class people have houses, so if we want more middle class people, make it so that people who are not middle class can have a house.
(2) Middle class (and upper class) people have college educations, so to reduce the ranks of the lower class, give a college degree to everybody!
(3) People on the cutting edge of technology and learning theory use smart phones to access and process ideas, so to get students to be that way, let them use smart phones!

In my English classes' syllabi, I refer to smart/cell phones as ADDs (Attention Deficit Devices) to help explain why they shouldn't be used during class.