So this post has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time. To be honest I have no idea why this is such a hot topic but recently it seems to have resurfaced as a huge issue in education. It is not really a post that says, though shalt use cell phones but I do just want you to consider the implications of outright banning of anything.
When I heard this debate resurface I immediately, I thought back to stories of when burning/ censoring books from the general populace. Have we started that process again but with cell phones?
For me, the cell phone is one of the greatest tools that I have ever seen as an educator. For me, it has the power to connect information so that students can use it for their studies. For example, how many of us remember these?
I remember having a set of them in my living room and every other year we would get a new one as information was updated. These were quickly replaced with CD ROM’s and then eventually the internet. Still when I was a child information wasn’t always there for me. In fact, these were often the only thing that I wasn’t allowed to take out of the library. This was how we used information. This was were information was kept.
I personally think that the role of school has changed. School use to be a repository of knowledge but now knowledge is at our children’s fingertips. When they don’t know something they just go search it up. I mean I still remember my daughter at the age of 5 wanting to know how to build a firetruck in Minecraft. What did she do? Found a youtube video and built it. This was at the age of 5. These are our children and we need to rethink how they are accessing information.
I was at a dinner party with some great educators and this thought came up too. We discussed that as teachers when we didn’t know something we would often search for information and do the research on the topic but now for the first time our students are looking in the same places as we are.
By having a cell phone ready to use, allows students to access more information when they want it. Additionally, it also has a built-in calculator, its communication device, and has solid education apps. It is also a camera, a recorder, and a note taker. There is more computing power in a phone than our first computer as a child. The possibilities are endless.
I understand the argument that students will only use them for social media, taking inappropriate pictures of teachers or some other naughty thing but guess what they are already doing that. Why not teach our students how to harness the power that is in their hands properly versus just banning and telling them no.
My last argument is has blocking anything ever worked as a successful strategy? I know as a parent we say no to our children but we should be explaining why we don’t block or take away cause that just causes them to want it more. Students will always find a way to access the information they want. We need to teach them how to use it properly for good.
I know this is a hot topic but I would love to hear your thoughts.