NEW GROUP! Includes discussions from the Administrators and Professional Development groups. What will it take to move our schools into the 21st century? Please share your thoughts and leadership strategies here.

Cell phones in school

joe kent

I'm planning on talking to my building leadership team about changing our policy on student cell phones. Currently students are to have their cell phones off and placed in their lockers when they enter the building. Guess what? Probably 99.9% of the student body has his or her own cell phone. This is what brought me to this possible policy change. There has to be something more productive and exciting to do with this technology. Has anyone taken this step to embrace the cell phones in their school by incorporating them into certain content areas / lessons- and if so would you mind sharing some ideas that you've found to be successful or unsuccessful.

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Should cell phones be permitted in schools

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I think cell phones should not be allowed in schools. Cell phones could distract students in the class rooms. Students could use cell phones to cheat. Cell phones could be used to take unwanted photographs by the students. Also, students could use cell phones for entertainments. Education is important for all people. Going to school is essential for everyone to learn and to get educated. Everybody has to go to school to have a degree and be an important part of the society. If students were allowed to have cell phones in the class rooms, they can use them inappropriate ways. Students could use them to surf the net and/or listen to music during the class which cause lots of distractions to them and to other students. Moreover, students could use cell phones to take pictures of their class mates secretly and use them in bad ways. Students could use cell phones to cheat during exams and to get the information from the net or from their friends.

Pre-service secondary biology teacher

Expecting our students to do what we ourselves can't do?

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This was meant to be a reply to a previous comment, but I messed that up and now can't figure out how to delete this post - so I'll just reword what I was trying to say. When considering how I and other graduate students deal with class time, as adults, I can hardly imagine expecting teenagers to do just the opposite. I am constantly multi-tasking and get super anxious when I'm doing just one task at a time (especially listening to a lecture or watching a video). Since I love school and am a very hard worker, this says nothing of an inattention to or lack of care for the presented material. I think that it's much more just the way that we deal with the world today and we should take advantage of it rather than try to squelch it. While I am only 25, I did grow up without internet and iPods didn't come out until I was a senior in high school and nobody in middle school had cell phones, yet I find myself in the same situation a lot of the time that the students I'll be teaching have found themselves in since elementary school.

Pre-service secondary biology teacher

What a great idea! Kind of

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What a great idea! Kind of like clickers in some large college classrooms...but not as expensive...like you said - free.

Adult/Alternative ed

Cell phones

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We went to an open cell phone policy in our school. Students are not allowed to text. We usually do not say anything as long as texting is not disruptive. On the positive side- Students are typing essays on their phones and using things like dictionary.com! This frees up limited computer space for E2020 and those students who do not have smart phones.

Adult/Alternative ed

Cell Phone Cop

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I agree. We need to focus on the real issues. We allow phones as long as they are used appropriately. We are teaching the correct use of cell phones. Also, the time I used to waste playing cell phone cop can go to learning.

Cellphones In School

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Personally, I believe that cellphones should not be allowed in school. They are big distractions and can cause more drama than the school already needs. Nobody really knows what the children do with their cellphones. They could be hiding them in their pocket and cheat on a test. As much as I want to say yes to cellphones, the best idea would be to ban them.
Alexis

Use Them!

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Our official policy is off and away, but I challenge teachers to find ways to use cell phones in their classrooms. We're never going to beat them, so we may as well join 'em. I visited a class where a teacher was allowing the use for backchannel discussion while he was lecturing, and I've seen them used for cameras, recording devices and research. A useful tool that we should tap into.

High School Principal

We had a very restrictive

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We had a very restrictive cell phone policy. However, in the upcoming school year we will be allowing students to use cell phones during passing and at lunch. Our staff will allow cell phones to be used during class only for instructional purposes. We polled our students and 97% of them have cell phones. Staff have been investigating websites and tools they can use with students to utilize phones in an appropriate manner... at the very least we can use the calendar to help organize tasks, due dates etc.... We figure if 97% of our students have phones, there is a greater likely hood they will be carrying that around to remind them of their responsibilities as opposed to a paper planner. Our new philosophy will be to teach them to use the technology to their advantage and not fight to ban it...

Acceptable use for sure.

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Acceptable use for sure. They can be such a useful tool for homework and research and to let teachers what worked with a lesson and what didn't. Find a happy medium. Banning is not the answer.

Professional Development Provider

Thoughtful implementation

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When I worked in a tech magnet program, we allowed cell phone use. My requirements: if we're not actively using them in class, they are in silent mode, sitting on the far corner of the desk. No sneaky texting or cheating - all could be seen in a quick glance. If there was an issue, the student lost it until the end of the day (either to me, if I could secure it; or to the office). It was rarely an issue.

One teacher used Tweetdeck. She'd ask an open-ended question and each student posted a comment or question - and all were on display for all to see via the projector. I believe they created classroom Twitter names (or used an app to do that) so their identities were known only to the teacher and the student. She used hashtags to follow specific questions. We also used the cell phones for polls, as others have indicated here.

I'm a firm believer that students need to be taught "context appropriate" behavior with ALL tech. We're doing a disservice to everyone when we leave it to the kids to figure out for themselves. A simple and clear acceptable use policy and staff commitment to follow the rules make a HUGE difference. Set the tone up front, and stick to it.

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