EDIT 8/14/13: Clarification: I’m not one to rock the boat. 🙂 I just am putting this up here because I do find it a confusing situation and I need to remind myself to ask the library department about it. Maybe there is something I’m missing beyond the black and white of the text, because there seemed to be various shades of gray in the discussion that was held.
I did some research today, after a big discussion on cell phone use and the ban of cell phones in school. I agree that cell phones can be very disruptive, but I can also see the benefits of using them for schoolwork.
The District policy is (in part):
Cell Phone Use Policy
Adopted: March 18, 2010 Revised: May 3, 2012; April 11, 2013
The School Committee has banned the use of personal cell phones, PCDs and other types of electronic devices during the academic school day. Students may possess and carry cell phones and PCDs; however, these units must be completely turned off (not simply on silent or vibrate mode) during the academic day.
From the district handbook. Now, as a librarian, I’m curious as to the policy. Because this (below) is part of the internet policy:
Grade six through twelve: Students in grades six through twelve may be given individual access passwords and may have the opportunity to access the Web/Internet and may receive individual email accounts. Students will have the opportunity to access the Internet, participate in on-line course work, and conduct independent, self–directed research, both during classroom instruction and outside of classroom instruction.
I feel that there is a way to combine these two. I mean, I can access Gale Databases on my phone (I have, in fact). I can access eBooks on my phone. I don’t have a top of the line smart phone; mine is about a year old and wasn’t the best/top one when I bought it. I don’t have an iPhone. Maybe cell phones ARE too distracting, I don’t know yet, but I’m used to BAA/FHS where kids were allowed to listen to music DURING CLASS when doing individual or group work, as long as they could hear each other. Students were allowed to use their cell phones in the library to do research, and so what if the student decided to text a buddy something while working? Who is to say that the text isn’t “Hey, I have this great idea for our paper, and here is the link!”? High school age students are amazing multi-taskers (or they at least switch between tasks very quickly).
Definitely something to discuss next week with the other librarians in the district! Because this is what AASL says:
Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs.
Today’s students need to develop information skills that will enable them to use technology as an important tool for learning, both now and in the future.
As well as teaching students to “Use information and technology ethically and responsibly.”
If we, as educators, don’t teach students how to use information, technology, and tools responsibly, then who will? Maybe we teach enough with the computers we have. Maybe that will be enough, I don’t know. But I would like to be able to encourage cell phone use, at least as a homework tool (yay for after-school!).